Game 5 between the Clippers and Mavericks was a dramatic, stressful affair that saw Luka Doncic once again put up a Herculean effort in dragging the Mavs to a 105-100 win, scoring 42 points and dishing out a new playoff career-high 14 assists as he accounted for well over half of Dallas’ offense.
Doncic was unbelievable early, with 27 points and eight assists in the first half as Dallas took a narrow 56-54 lead into the break.
Luka was on fire in the first half 🔥
Already 27 PTS & 8 AST on the night. pic.twitter.com/tXvVPO6FXP
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) June 3, 2021
In the third quarter, the Clippers took early control but fell apart late, as Doncic took over once again to lead Dallas on a 22-3 run that put them up by 14 going into the fourth quarter, capped off by a rare lob finish from Luka.
In the fourth quarter, things ground to a halt for the Mavs offense, who struggled with Luka sitting to start and even his return couldn’t kickstart things. Paul George led the Clippers back into the game with steady play, reeling them to within two possessions late.
— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) June 3, 2021
After no one on the Mavs could convert on some incredible looks created by Doncic in the fourth quarter, they finally got some shots to fall as Tim Hardaway Jr. and Kristaps Porzingis hit massive threes to put some distance between them and the Clippers.
However, L.A. had an answer for Dallas’ run to pull ahead by 10. Kawhi capped off a 9-0 Clippers run in three possessions with this and-1 to suddenly make it a one-point game as the game once again swung wildly, this time towards L.A.
— Bally Sports West (@BallySportWest) June 3, 2021
After forcing a turnover, the Clippers got Terrance Mann going to the basket with no one in front of him, but he bizarrely passed it back to Nic Batum who couldn’t finish over a contest and L.A.’s best chance to win the game went away just like that.
Oh no Terance Mann. Wow 😯 pic.twitter.com/akZBT7P34f
— The Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) June 3, 2021
Following a pair of Tim Hardaway Jr. free throws made it a three-point game with 8.8 seconds to play, Kawhi Leonard forced up a tough corner three that missed everything, putting the final nail in the coffin for Game 5 as Dallas won their third game in Los Angeles.
Kawhi had a chance to tie it. pic.twitter.com/RhJqcRiRDv
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 3, 2021
Doncic’s performance was nothing short of phenomenal in leading Dallas to the win, but the Clippers will be kicking themselves for what had to feel like a great opportunity to steal one on a big Luka night. Their issues closing out games continues to be a major problem, and after taking control back in Dallas, not being able to get a win at home once again puts them in a perilous position against a Mavs team that didn’t have their best aside from their star in Game 5.
After winning with unsustainable shooting in the first two games in L.A., the Mavs shot a much more typical 14-of-36 from deep in this win, headlined by a 6-of-12 night from Doncic. The fourth quarter was an absolute rock fight, but getting a win in that manner rather than just bombarding the Clippers with three after three might make the Mavs feel even more confident as they head back to Dallas looking to close things out with the first home win for either team in the series.