Kawhi Leonard's absence created a major problem for the Clippers on Sunday as they fell into a double-digit hole at halftime against the Mavericks. But double digits doesn't quite explain Los Angeles' first-half deficit, which was the largest since the shot clock was instituted in 1954-55.
The Leonard-less Clippers trailed Dallas by a whopping 50 points at the half at the Staples Center, heading into the home locker room trailing 77-27. Head coach Tyronn Lue may want to burn the tape of this one before facing the Timberwolves on Sunday.
So how did Los Angeles fall into such a deep hole? It was a perfect storm of sorts. Dallas's third-year phenom Luka Doncic torched the Clippers with 18 points, seven rebounds and four assists, while Los Angeles's offense sputtered to a shocking degree. The Clippers went 1-for-18 from three in the first half, shooting 25 percent from the field.
The Clippers will look to get Leonard back on the floor sooner than later after Sunday's dreadful effort. Leonard received eight stitches after getting elbowed in the mouth by Serge Ibaka on Friday, and his timetable for a return has yet to be determined. Los Angeles now sits 2–1 in 2020-21 after Sunday's 124-73 loss, with the 51-point deficit registering as the worst loss in franchise history.