The Los Angeles Clippers knocked out the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday from the playoffs with a comfortable 111-97 victory in Game 6. Kawhi Leonard top-scored for the Clippers with 33 points, seven assists and 14 rebounds.
With this win, the Clippers advance to the second round of playoffs of the Western Conference. They are set to face the winner of the Denver Nuggets-Utah Jazz series. The Nuggets leveled the series 3-3 on Sunday and the two teams will face off in Game 7 on Tuesday.
Leonard and Jackson Help Clippers Regroup
Ivica Zubac had 15 points and 11 rebounds, while Paul George contributed 15 points, nine boards and seven assists for the Clippers. Leonard added five steals. Luka Doncic had 38 points, nine assists and nine rebounds for the Mavericks. Dorian Finney-Smith added 16 points and Tim Hardaway Jr. chipped in 10.
Dallas rallied from a 23-point, third-quarter deficit, pulling to within 88-82 on Doncic's 3-pointer with 9:28 left in the fourth. But Los Angeles regrouped and pulled away behind the play of Leonard and Reggie Jackson, who sank four 3-pointers in the final quarter and finished with 14 points.
Porzingis Misses Third Game in a Row
The Clippers pounced on the Mavericks in the third quarter. L.A. opened the second half with a 20-3 surge, capped by Leonard's three-point play that made it 77-54 midway through the third. Consecutive three-point plays by Doncic, who scored 16 points in the third, in the final minute of the quarter pulled the Mavericks within 85-74 heading into the fourth. The Clippers led 57-51 at the break. They limited the Mavericks to only two field goals during the final 5:14 of the half and outscored them 28-17 in the second quarter.
Clippers forward Marcus Morris Sr. was ejected late in the first quarter after being whistled for a flagrant-2 foul on Doncic. Morris slapped Doncic on the head as the latter drove to the bucket. The two have had heated exchanges throughout the series. Morris finished with nine points. Los Angeles guard Patrick Beverley (calf) sat out his sixth straight playoff game. Dallas was without center Kristaps Porzingis (knee) for the third game in a row.
(With inputs from agencies)