The Dallas Mavericks will try to even up their first-round series against the Los Angeles Clippers at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida on Wednesday night.
Game 1 was a back-and-forth affair with each team holding double-digit leads but ultimately the Clippers came out on top. A controversial call altered the course of the contest, resulting in Kristaps Porzingis getting ejected after receiving his second technical foul.
Will the Mavs be able to keep their cool and even up the series in Game 2?
Porzingis’ ejection taints historic playoff debut from Doncic
Dallas came up short 118-110 in Game 1 against the Clippers on Monday despite a historic playoff debut from Luka Doncic. The 21-year-old scored 42 points on an efficient 13-for-22 shooting from the field with nine assists and seven rebounds but the Clippers played him tough defensively, forcing him into 11 turnovers on the night.
Porzingis finished with 14 points and six rebounds but was ejected with 9:10 left in the third quarter in what turned out to be a controversial call. Porzingis got into an exchange with Marcus Morris after he wrapped up Doncic and referee Kane Fitzgerald called a double technical on both players. The Clippers finished the quarter on a 22-12 run to take the lead for good.
After the game, Doncic said that he appreciated that Porzingis had his back but he didn’t think play warranted an ejection. Morris didn’t like the call either. You can judge for yourself below.
While the call was inevitably the story of Game 1, Dallas will have to find a way to take some of the pressure off of Doncic on Wednesday.
The Mavericks shot 53.0 percent of their total shots from beyond the arc but only connected at a 34.9 percent clip. Most of that production came from the bench though, which combined to shoot 6-for-12 from 3-point range on the night. The starters shot just 9-for-31 from deep on the night led by Tim Hardaway Jr., who connected on 4 of his 11 attempts.
Leonard, Morris lead Clippers to Game 1 win
The Clippers rode their physical defense to a 118-110 victory over the Mavericks in Game 1. Kawhi Leonard finished with 29 points, 12 rebounds and six assists on the night while Paul George chipped in 27 points to lead the Clippers in scoring. L.A. threw bodies at Doncic whenever they could and did a terrific job making life tough on him throughout the game. Marcus Morris Sr. finished with 19 points and four steals to go along with a team-best +25 net rating in the win.
L.A. used its experience to jet out to an 18-2 advantage, forcing Doncic into five turnovers in the opening minutes. However, the Clippers fell into a lull offensively, leading to a 48-18 Mavericks’ run.
Head coach Doc Rivers might want to consider tightening up his rotation. Ten players saw the floor in Game 1 and four different bench players receiving at least 15 minutes of action. Yet Lou Williams was the only one to finish with a positive net rating and Landry Shamet finished a whopping -19 in only eight minutes. Jeff Green wasn’t far behind at -16 and Reggie Jackson shot 0-for-5 from the field on the night.