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The Los Angeles Clippers rolled to their sixth straight win by defeating the host Dallas Mavericks 114-99 on Tuesday at American Airlines Center.
The Clips controlled the game for nearly all 48 minutes, taking a 34-27 lead after the first quarter before building a 62-46 halftime edge.
Los Angeles led by as many as 24 in the second half en route to the 15-point win.
The Clippers defense was the catalyst, as Dallas committed 20 turnovers and shot 38 percent overall.
Los Angeles forward Paul George had six steals in addition to his 26 points, and teammate Kawhi Leonard paced the offense with 28 points on 11-of-21 shooting.
Luka Doncic stuffed the stat sheet with 22 points, eight rebounds, six assists and three steals, but he made just four of 14 field goals (0-of-8 from three-point range) and committed seven turnovers. A frequent visitor to the line, Doncic nailed 14 of 16 free throws.
The 11-6 Mavericks saw their five-game winning streak end. The 13-5 Clippers kept their third-place Western Conference placement.
Clippers F Kawhi Leonard: 28 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists
Clippers F Paul George: 26 points, 6 steals, 4 rebounds
Clippers G Lou Williams: 21 points, 6 assists, 6 rebounds
Mavericks G Luka Doncic: 22 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists
Mavericks F/C Kristaps Porzingis: 15 points, 10 rebounds, 2 steals
Mavericks G Seth Curry: 13 points
Clippers Stay Undefeated with George and Leonard Together
Excellent early returns on the George-Leonard partnership continued Tuesday, with the two staying undefeated after their first four games together.
George missed the beginning of the season with shoulder injuries, so the tag team got a late start. PG-13 looks 100 percent healthy and ready to go for the year, however, as evidenced by this ferocious slam dunk:
Leonard has missed time with load management, and he looked strong and well-rested while imposing his will in the paint:
All four George-Leonard victories have been impressive for various reasons.
L.A. took down the 12-4 Boston Celtics and 11-6 Houston Rockets at home, crushed the New Orleans Pelicans by 25 and just beat a hot 11-6 Dallas Mavericks team led by early MVP candidate Luka Doncic.
Leonard and George are two of the game’s best two-way players, and that makes the Clippers a near-impossible team to beat considering they’re surrounded by most of a supporting cast that went 48-34 and made the playoffs last year without the superstar duo.
What’s more: The Clippers’ road gets considerably easier now. Their next four opponents have losing records, and only five of 14 are above .500. That stretch sets up a Christmas Day battle with the 15-2 Los Angeles Lakers, which could kick off a race for the Western Conference’s No. 1 seed.
The Lakers have the slight edge right now given their record, but the Clips are now full strength. George is past the recovery stage post-shoulder surgeries. Leonard will still sit games because of load management, but the two should team up far more often than not for the rest of the way.
Night to Forget for Mavs Doesn’t Erase Excellent 2019-20 Start
The Mavs were riding the high of a five-game winning streak capped by a dominant 137-123 win over the 11-6 Rockets, but that ended after the Clippers came to town and controlled the game for four quarters.
Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis combined to shoot 8-of-27 from the field. Doncic and Jalen Brunson were the only two Mavs to have more than one assist. The Clippers won the rebounding battle 56-46. Three starters posted a minus-13 or worse. And so on and so forth.
But there’s no reason to harp on the Mavs’ poor performance on a late November night.
If this happened against an inferior team, then sure, that’s cause for concern.
However, the Clippers featuring George and Leonard may be the league’s best team. They’re strong on both ends, have strong veteran leadership and experience, and are keyed by two of the game’s 10 best players.
The Mavs aren’t there yet, but there’s reason to believe they will be after their impressive 17-game start. Like the Clips, they already have a star combo in Doncic and Porzingis, with the former a bona fide superstar in year two. Check out this sorcery against George for instance:
Porzingis is still working his way back from a torn ACL that sidelined him for a year-and-a-half, but that doesn’t stop the 7’3″ unicorn from hitting almost indefensible threes:
They also have an excellent head coach in Rick Carlisle and solid rotational pieces surrounding their top stars, particularly Delon Wright and Brunson (third and fourth on the team in player efficiency rating, respectively).
Dallas does need at least one scorer or two to help with the scoring load, particularly on nights like Tuesday when Doncic and Porzingis don’t have it. They could also use more help on the wings in general.
But the Mavs’ road back to being a perennial playoff contender has been accelerated based on early returns, and one night does not change that.
The Clippers, who are on a three-game road trip against Southwest Division opponents, play the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. ET in FedExForum.
The Mavs will start a three-game road swing against the Phoenix Suns on Friday at 9 p.m. in Talking Stick Resort Arena.