nba

Clippers drop pivotal Game 5 to Mavs, face elimination Friday

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Mavericks take a 3-2 advantage in the first-round series with the Clippers’ loss Wednesday night as Los Angeles is pushed to the brink of elimination.

LOS ANGELES — After a dominant Game 4 win in Dallas and learning of a sickly, sprained Luka Doncic, one may have considered a Game 5 win a given for the Los Angeles Clippers.  

But even with a flu,  Doncic, Kyrie Irving and the rest of the Dallas Mavericks squad would prove naysayers wrong.

The Clippers lost by a whopping 123-93 to the Mavericks in what could have been their last home game in Crypto.com Arena.

Turning point: The game took a turn for the worse for LA in the third quarter when the Mavericks spurted on a 14-0 run, creating a 73-50 lead. The Clippers were held to 33% shooting in that period while Dallas shot 63%.

A 3-pointer from Doncic sealed the Clippers’ fate with eight minutes to play.  He helped Dallas grab a 97-72 lead before going to leaving the game. 

The Clippers trailed by 12 points early in the first quarter, but escaped the period down one point, 25-24.

What it means: Wednesday night could have very well been the last time we saw the Clippers play in Crypto.com Arena before the team moves into Intuit Dome. Now, the team is on the brink of elimination and will have to fight to live another day in Dallas on Friday.

To put the nail in the coffin, LA’s Game 5 loss also was their worst postseason loss in Clippers franchise history.

Hits: Ivica Zubac seemed to be the lone Clipper who caught an early rhythm. He started the game hitting all five of his shots before finishing with 15 points to lead the Clippers.

Zubac played 26 minutes and collected six rebounds with one turnover.

Misses: Like in LA’s other two losses this series, the Clippers’ 3-point shooting was their downfall in Game 5. 

Both teams’ star duos didn’t drop jaws from deep. Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving went 3 for 15 in 3-pointers for Dallas. Meanwhile, James Harden and Paul George shot 3 for 13. 

Their teammates, however, were the difference maker. The rest of the Mavericks team went 11 for 24 from beyond the arc to provide support to the team’s win. The rest of the Clippers, meanwhile, shot a jarring 6 for 22.

Stat of the game: In a 30-point loss where the Clippers trailed for most of the game without their star scorer, it’s hard to find the silver lining in the boxscore, especially in the pairing of Paul George and James Harden.

Audiences saw George and Harden dominate in Dallas in Game 4 without Leonard, combining for 66 points on 22-36 field goal shooting.  Yet Game 5 provided a different version of the duo, who scored a total of 22 points, shooting 6 for 25 from the field.

Neither George nor Harden attempted a single midrange field goal Wednesday night as well.

Up next: The teams meet for Game 6 in Dallas at 6:30 p.m. Friday. If the Clippers manage to pull out a win, then Game 7 will be in LA on Sunday.