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Luka Doncic Returns, Leads Mavericks Victory Over Clippers in Overtime

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Dallas Mavericks forward-guard Luka Dončić (77) defended by Clippers Isaiah Hartenstein during gameplay. | Image by Sean M. Haffey, Getty Images

In Luka Doncic’s return on Tuesday, the Dallas Mavericks pulled out a 112-104 overtime victory over the Los Angeles Clippers. Doncic returned after the Mavericks went 0-3 in the three games he was forced to miss with a knee and ankle sprain.

Doncic helped the Mavericks end their losing streak and avenge Sunday’s loss against the Clippers by scoring 26 points and adding nine rebounds and nine assists. Kristaps Porzingis was an instrumental part of the victory; he added 30 points and seven rebounds.

Porzingis scored six points in the overtime period where the Mavericks outscored the Clippers 9-1. Dallas overcame the Clippers forcing overtime with a game-tying last-second three-point attempt made by Paul George that capped an 11-1 run to end regulation.

Before the game, Doncic was a game-time decision, according to Dallas Mavericks Head Coach Jason Kidd. He held the same status in the last two games when he did not play, including on Sunday against the same Clippers.

When it was announced that Doncic would start, Mavericks fans knew their chances of winning were significantly higher. Doncic was excited to be back as well. “Mentally, I was really happy to be back,” Doncic said. “I miss basketball. It’s only been three [games]. Like I said in the morning, I’ll do everything possible to play the game, and I felt great after I woke up from my nap. I was just ready to go.”

Doncic was ready to start the game as he hit his first two shots and finished with six points in the first quarter. Overall the rest of the team did not have a good start.

The Clippers held a 19-8 lead halfway through the first, and the Mavericks were shooting 0-of-7 from the three-point range. Dallas fought back to only be down 26-21 at the end of the first.

In the second quarter, the Mavericks three-point shooting woes continued. Overall, Dallas missed their first 13 three-point attempts. Their first three of the game came from Luka Doncic, with only 39 seconds remaining in the second quarter. That three was Doncic’s only second-quarter score, and the Mavericks trailed 48-42 at halftime.

In the third quarter, the game was flipped in Dallas’ favor as their three-point shot attempts started to fall. Doncic gave the Mavericks their first lead of the game with a stepback three, three minutes into the third quarter, making the score 57-56.

Luka Doncic played nearly the entire third quarter and was on fire. He scored 15 points in 10 minutes and made six-of-eight shot attempts, including three-of-five three-point attempts. Doncic also contributed four assists, and the Mavericks outscored the Clippers 38-28 in the third period to take an 80-76 lead into the fourth quarter.

Dorian Finney-Smith scored 10 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter and was the primary defender on the Clipper’s leading scorer Paul George. Dallas held a lead of 10 points with over three minutes left in the game and seemed to think the victory was secured. However, the Clippers were not put away and forced overtime with George’s last-second three.

In overtime, Dallas scored the first seven points of the period and held the Clippers without a made shot attempt. The Clippers only overtime point came by way of a free throw attempt.

Porzingis was the best player in overtime, making plays on both ends of the court. “Honestly,” Porzingis said, “it’s just easy opportunities because of Luka. When Luka’s out there, he just makes the game so much easier for everybody else.”

The Dallas Mavericks record now stands at 10-7 and the Clippers at 10-8. This is only the fourth win against an opponent with a winning record for Dallas this season.

One concern from this game is that Mavericks point guard Jalen Brunson suffered a left foot injury and left with 4:56 remaining in the second quarter. He limped to the locker room and was officially ruled out for the remainder of the game early in the third quarter.

Brunson has been Dallas’ most consistent player this season. He has been efficient in both starting and bench roles averaging 15.1 points per game and 5.3 assists this season.

Brunson will have four days to recover as the Dallas Mavericks next game is not until Saturday at home versus the Washington Wizards. Dallas fans will hope that Brunson is not forced to miss any time.