The Dallas Mavericks vs. the LA Clippers is starting to become one of the more enjoyable rivalries in the NBA. The two teams have battled it out in exciting playoff series the past two postseasons, and seem to deliver an exciting game each time they match up. This game was no different.
The Mavs got their superstar Luka Doncic back for this game, and he played like every bit of a superstar. Doncic had 26 points, 9 assists, and 9 rebounds, but it was the defensive attention he garnered that changed this game.
After an electric third quarter for Luka, head coach Ty Lue opted to send an aggressive trap at him the rest of the way. Luka's passing ability exploited this strategy, and led to several open three-point shots for Dallas. After the Mavericks struggled from deep to start the game, some of these shots finally started to fall.
When asked postgame about the decision to trap Luka, Ty Lue said, "I might have overreacted once he made a couple of threes." While coach Lue says he was unhappy with the team's execution on their rotations once they blitzed Luka, he took the blame for deploying a defensive strategy that ultimately did not work.
The Clippers pulled off a miraculous comeback in order to even send this game to overtime, with Paul George beating the buzzer on a corner three with regulation expiring. As exciting as that was, the Clippers failed to make a single field goal in the overtime period, and scored just one total point on a technical foul free throw.
Fatigue certainly set in down the stretch, with Paul George logging over 48 minutes, and Reggie Jackson logging 42 himself. Those two were fantastic in regulation, especially Reggie, who scored a Clippers career-high 31 points while pulling down another Clippers career-high 10 rebounds.
While the conversation surrounding defensive schemes against Luka Doncic is a worthy one, the bigger issue for the Clippers is their offensive inconsistency. The team had just 100 points at the end of regulation, which is the 7th time this season they have ended four quarters with 100 points or less. They did it just 8 times all of last season. While there is an obvious absence of Kawhi Leonard between last season and now, it is hard to win games in the NBA with an offensive struggling the way the Clippers' offense has.
Marcus Morris returned for the Clippers in this game after missing 15-straight games with a knee injury, and posted 10 points and 5 rebounds. Morris said postgame that he doesn't think he will have to miss any more time this season with the knee issue, which is certainly good news for the Clippers.
The Clippers currently have the league's 8th worst offensive rating, at 105.3. Their defense still ranks 2nd best in basketball, which has kept them above .500; however, the offensive woes seem to be catching up to them as they have now dropped three of their last four.
The Clippers will be off on Wednesday and on Thanksgiving before looking to get back into the win column on Friday afternoon against the Detroit Pistons.