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The emotional roller coaster that the LA Clippers and Dallas Mavericks have taken fans and media members on has been, frankly, exhausting.

After Dallas stole both Games 1 and 2 in Los Angeles, it felt as though the postseason had already concluded for LA, particularly given the historical precedent of only four teams in the last 40 years coming back from an 0-2 deficit after losing their first two games at home. Then, LA flipped the script on the Mavericks by earning wins in both Games 3 and 4 in Dallas, the second of which came in blowout fashion. It seemed as though the Clippers were well on their way to defying the odds by settling their demons early on in the series and making the correct adjustments.

Well, they’re now on the brink of elimination.

The Mavericks stole yet another game in Staples Center on Wednesday night, winning a tightly-contested defensive battle 105-100 behind another stellar performance from Luka Doncic (42 points, 14 assists and eight rebounds). Kawhi Leonard truly struggled for the first time all series, going just 7-19 and committing five costly turnovers. The Clippers are now down 3-2, heading back to Dallas with their season on the line.

Even still, Paul George says he and his team are undisturbed by the circumstances.

“We’re confident,” George said postgame. “We’re confident we can extend this series and bring this back home. We’ve got to go to Dallas...another tough environment for us to go into, but it’s what we’ve got to do. It’s the job we’ve got in front of us, and we’ve got to tackle it.”

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George justified this confidence with his own play on Wednesday, going for 23 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, three blocks and finishing the game as a +17 (though a chunk of his minutes came while Doncic was on the bench). Had he not gotten into foul trouble midway through the third quarter, the Clippers might’ve walked away with a win.

At this point, LA has no reason to fear an opponent with home court advantage. The home team has yet to win a game in this series (something that has only happened one other time in NBA history if we discount last year’s bubble experiment). Even still, their backs are now truly against the wall. Doncic seems to have healed from the neck injury that hindered him in Game 4, and although LA has done a better job in the last two games of limiting his supporting cast, he’s continuing to prove that he alone can carve up this Clipper defense (even if it means he has to take 37 shots to do it).

There is no room for error on Friday. A First-Round exit for LA would widely be considered a disappointment, and it would not be out of the realm of possibility for the front office to make drastic changes in response.

Game 6 tips off on Friday at 6 p.m.

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