Dallas Mavericks Win Game 2 To Tie Series Against Clippers: 3 Game-Changing Plays

It took everyone on the Mavericks to come away with a win over the Clippers in Game 2
Apr 23, 2024; Los Angeles, California, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) calls a play in Game 2 against the Clippers
Apr 23, 2024; Los Angeles, California, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) calls a play in Game 2 against the Clippers / Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Mavericks picked up a huge win on the road in Game 2 against the Los Angeles Clippers to tie the series and steal homecourt advantage and it took some major plays from the role players to come through. Daniel Gafford and Tim Hardaway Jr. would leave the game with injuries while Dante Exum only played 6 minutes, leaving Dallas with a 7-man rotation of Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving, Derrick Jones Jr., PJ Washington, Dereck Lively II, Maxi Kleber, and Josh Green, all of them making big plays at one point or another down the stretch.

This was a close game the entire way through as Kawhi Leonard made his first appearance after missing game 1 with knee inflammation. Dallas led by between 3 and 7 points for the majority of the first three quarters, but neither team led by more than 9 and that was only for a brief second late in the game. Otherwise, this was a physical, hotly-contested game with big shots on both sides.

We start our plays early in the 4th quarter, where Dallas had fallen behind 73-67 and had made just one field goal in the previous four minutes heading into this play. On the heels of an 11-4 run by the Clippers, the Mavericks needed to find some kind of offense, especially from someone not named Luka Doncic or Kyrie Irving.

This strong drive and finish off the glass by PJ Washington opened up a 17-3 run for the Mavericks, a run in which Washington scored 8 by himself, nailing two 3s on top of this runner. By the end of this run, the Mavs held an 84-76 lead and set the stage for the rest of the game.

The Clippers were forcing anyone not named Luka Doncic to beat them, double-teaming him often, daring anyone else to beat them, as they did on his post-up here. Of those 17 points scored by the Mavericks over a span of about 4:30, Washington scored 8, Irving scored 5, and Doncic scored 4.

The Clippers had made the game close once again, getting the lead down to 3 with a little over two minutes remaining. Dallas needed someone else other than Doncic or Irving to score as the Clippers sent a double team on Irving and then swarmed Doncic as he drove to the paint.

A pass from Doncic leads to a wide-open high corner 3 for Maxi Kleber, not turning down the open look like he did in Game 1, and knocking it in to push the lead back to 6. This was just Kleber's second-made basket of the game and couldn't have come at a more opportune time. He also added 6 rebounds in a game Gafford ended up not being able to finish with a lower back injury.

Having the option to kick to a floor-spacing 5 like Kleber can open a lot of things for an offense, especially when the paint was as congested as it was in this game, as they would finish just 17/38 inside the paint. The 3-point shooting was much more consistent in this game than on Sunday as the Mavs would shoot 14/33 from behind the arc.

Not to be outshined, Luka Doncic made sure to let everyone know he is still the main engine in the Mavericks' machine with this beautiful step-back 3 over Kawhi Leonard to push the lead to 9, the largest lead of the game for either team, with 1:26 remaining.

Doncic would finish with 32 points and 9 assists, both game-highs, while shooting 11/26 from 3. It was often hard for him to get clean looks throughout the game and was clearly frustrated throughout, picking up a technical foul at the end of the 3rd quarter after an and-one went uncalled, but he was still able to raise the level of his game at moments when it was most needed.

After some free throws and a wildly creative bounce pass by Doncic to break the press, the Mavs would come away with a 96-93 victory to even the series at 1 apiece as they head to Dallas. To say this is a huge win for the Mavericks would be understating it, but they'll need to get at least Gafford healthier to have some usable depth moving forward.

Game 3 will be on Friday at 7 p.m. CST at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.

READ MORE: Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving Guide Dallas Mavericks to Game 2 Victory Over Clippers, Tie Series 1-1

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Austin Veazey


Austin Veazey joined NoleGameday as the Lead Basketball Writer in 2019, while contributing as a football writer, and started as editor for MavericksGameday in 2024. Veazey was a Florida State Men’s Basketball Manager from 2016-2019. Follow Austin on Twitter at @EasyVeazeyNG