The NBA Payoffs are well underway in the Orland Bubble, with many exciting matchups available for fans to see. But there's one matchup that is arguably more interesting than the others - the series between the Dallas Mavericks who are dark horses, and the favorites in LA Clippers.
The LA Clippers recently took Game 3, with the final score being 133-120 in their favor. Going into that game, the Dallas Mavericks seemed to have momentum on their side, with their bench winning them Game 2. On the other hand, LA Clippers' stars like Paul George and Lou Williams went cold throughout the game.
And yet in Game 3, the LA Clippers showed the world why they were favorites, going ahead by 10 points in the second quarter and keeping an average lead of 12 points from thereon. They eventually ended up winning by a lead of eight points.
However, despite all that's been said, the Dallas Mavericks were dangerously close to erasing the gap and maybe even stealing the game from them completely.
The Dallas Mavericks' third quarter
The third quarter for the Dallas Mavericks was a weird one, to say the least.
In the middle of the quarter, the Dallas Mavericks' franchise player Luka Doncic went down with a nasty looking injury. The Slovenian had twisted his left ankle and couldn't put any weight on it at the time. Dallas Mavericks fans had their heart in their mouths as they saw live footage of their star player hopping on one foot towards the locker room.
Doncic did check back into the game for the Dallas Mavericks. But after just a few minutes, he had to go back out as it became increasingly apparent that he could not continue.
Kyle Goon, a well-reputed NBA news reporter later tweeted information on Dallas Mavericks' head coach, Rick Carlisle's thoughts on Doncic checking back in after sustaining the injury,
But the painful exit of their star was perhaps a source of motivation for the Dallas Mavericks, as this is when they had the biggest opportunity to not only close the gap on the LA Clippers but maybe even go on to steal the game.
Tim Hardaway Jr, Kristaps Porzingis, and Seth Curry came up huge during this period, burying three-pointers and mid-range shots with higher efficiency than what had been seen all game. During this period, they shortened the gap to just five points and went on a 6-0 run.
Porzingis came into his own, becoming the leader and rallying the troops to keep pushing. He provided the opposition with a real scare, even burying a deep three at a time when the offense was unable to score. But as the final scoreline proves, it was all for naught.
The LA Clippers show their dominance and depth
Despite another night of inefficiency against the Dallas Mavericks from their star Paul George, the LA Clippers had more than enough offense to stay in the lead. Kawhi Leonard nearly had a triple-double, with 36 points, 9 rebounds, and 8 assists. He also shot with incredible efficiency throughout the game.
Lou Williams and Marcus Morris also came up big during the game, especially in the second half. Both players hit incredible shots and were blazing hot from three-point range, as they continued to silence the Mavericks offense.
Mirjam Swanson, a well-reputed reporter for the LA Clippers in Southern California, tweeted out Landry Shamet's thoughts on Paul George's recent slump, along with what the latter had to say about his own form:
It is a testament to how dominant the LA Clippers can be, that despite one half of their dynamic duo misfiring, they can still outmatch the offense of a team that was rated as the number one offense during the regular season.
What does the future hold for this series?
As it stands, the LA Clippers lead the series 2-1. An important piece in this series is Luka Doncic. A post-game MRI revealed that the injury wasn't a serious one, with Doncic saying:
"Honestly, I had luck that it was my left ankle. It's not my right."
Although, it must be mentioned that Rick Carlisle remains skeptical about the inclusion of their star in Game 4.
The LA Clippers admittedly have a higher chance of winning Game 4. However, even if Luka Doncic doesn't play a part for the Dallas Mavericks, they'd still stand a chance against the LA Clippers and might even end up toppling them.
The noise surrounding Paul George's form in the playoffs has only grown louder as his inefficiency continues to hamper the LA Clippers' offense. And with the opposition only adapting more and more, the Clippers will need him to start firing on all cylinders immediately.
We have also seen what the bench of the Dallas Mavericks can accomplish. And with Porzingis still in the mix, the next game and this series is far from over.Published 23 Aug 2020, 19:41 IST