Mavericks’ Comeback Falls Short in Game 4 Loss

Russell Westbrook #0 of the Los Angeles Clippers goes up for a lay up while defended by Derrick Jones Jr. #55 of the Dallas Mavericks and Maxi Kleber #42
Russell Westbrook #0 of the Los Angeles Clippers goes up for a lay up while defended by Derrick Jones Jr. #55 of the Dallas Mavericks and Maxi Kleber #42 in the second half of game four of the Western Conference First Round Playoffs. | Image by Tim Warner/Getty Images

The Dallas Mavericks lost to the Los Angeles Clippers 116-111 in Game 4 of the first round of the NBA Playoffs on Sunday afternoon, tying the series 2-2 as it heads back to Los Angeles.

Los Angeles started the game out hot from the field, going up 24-14 in the first 10 minutes before starting a 12-0 run to increase the lead to 22 points.

Clippers forward Paul George shot 6 for 9 in the first quarter alone, scoring 16 points to match the total points scored by the Mavericks.

On the other end of the court, the Mavericks struggled to score as the team shot a combined 0 for 7 from three, with guard Luka Doncic contributing 10 points as he played through a sore knee.

Doncic attempted to get the team back in the game with two made free throws near the end of the quarter, but Clippers guard Norman Powell made a three-point basket as time expired to give Los Angeles a 39-16 lead.

The Mavericks’ struggles continued at the start of the second quarter, with the team down as many as 31 points while the Clippers continued to stay hot from all areas of the court.

Dallas’ frustrations boiled over in the middle of the quarter when Doncic received a technical foul for arguing with a referee, pleading for a foul call on a step-back three-point attempt.

Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving struggled to start the game but got going toward the end of the quarter, scoring his first points during a personal 12-3 run that featured three field goals from three-point range.

Irving and Doncic stayed in attack mode toward the end of the quarter, scoring or assisting on the Mavericks’ final 27 points of the half as the team outscored the Clippers 27-17 in the final eight minutes of the half.

This run allowed the Mavericks to cut the lead to 17 points at halftime while still shooting just 27% from three in the first half.

Dallas carried over the momentum into the third quarter, opening the game on a 12-5 run to cut the lead to 10 points.

Despite George and Harden combining to score 44 points in the first half, the Mavericks were able to hold the two players to just two points in the third quarter, with a singular bucket coming off a fast break layup.

The offensive onslaught from Doncic and Irving continued throughout the quarter as the two guards combined to score 18 points and assist on four other made buckets.

A combination of strong defense and improved shooting propelled the Mavericks to a 29-point quarter, helping the team cut the deficit to 82-78 entering the final period.

Los Angeles quickly bounced back at the start of the final quarter, going on an 8-0 over a two-minute span to make the lead 11 points with 8:53 left in the game.

The two teams continued to trade punches as the Mavericks tied the game 98-98 with five minutes remaining after Doncic made a stepback three-pointer over Clippers center Ivica Zubac.

Following multiple layups from Harden to give the Clippers a four-point lead, Irving caught fire with a deep three-pointer and a layup to give Dallas a 105-104 lead with 2:14 remaining in the quarter, which was the Mavericks’ first lead since the first quarter.

This lead was short-lived as George made a fallaway three-point field goal and Harden made an and-one layup to give Los Angeles a 110-105 lead with 1:20 remaining.

The Mavericks were unable to keep up with the Clippers’ scoring in the final minutes of the game, as Los Angeles prevailed and ended regulation with the 116-111 victory.

Doncic finished the game with a triple-double, scoring 29 points to go along with 10 rebounds and 10 assists, while Irving finished the game with 40 points, seven rebounds, and five assists.

The two biggest differences in Game 4 came from the teams’ three-point shooting and total turnovers, as Los Angeles was more efficient in both aspects of the game.

Although the Mavericks ended the game shooting 33.3% from three-point range, the Clippers shot a staggering 62.1% from three for the game.

Similarly, the Clippers outperformed Dallas in the turnover battle, committing just 13 turnovers to the Mavericks’ 17 turnovers.

The Mavericks will head back to Los Angeles to match up with the Clippers on Wednesday at 9 p.m. as the team will attempt to take a 3-2 lead heading back to Dallas.

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