Maxi Kleber Delivers 'Beautiful Game' for Dallas Mavericks in Game 5 Win vs. Clippers

Dallas Mavericks' Maxi Kleber was praised by his teammates for the impact he provided in Game 5 against the Clippers.
May 1, 2024; Los Angeles, California, USA; Dallas Mavericks forward Maxi Kleber (42) celebrates
May 1, 2024; Los Angeles, California, USA; Dallas Mavericks forward Maxi Kleber (42) celebrates / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES — Maxi Kleber, the Dallas Mavericks' versatile forward who can slide over to being a small ball, stepped up on Thursday, contributing significantly to a 123-93 rout of the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 5 at Arena.

Kleber, who had been relatively quiet scoring-wise in earlier games, shone brightly by knocking down five three-pointers, tallying 15 points to help give the Mavericks a 3-2 series lead.

May 1, 2024; Los Angeles, California, USA; Dallas Mavericks forward Maxi Kleber (42) celebrates
May 1, 2024; Los Angeles, California, USA; Dallas Mavericks forward Maxi Kleber (42) celebrates / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

“The shots I get, I take them,” Kleber said. “It goes for everybody. When it’s the right shot you take it and live with the results because it’s the best shot for the team.”

Kleber had faced challenges during the regular season, including a dislocated toe that sidelined him for several games. He acknowledged the benefit of the downtime between the regular season and playoffs.

“I think a little break helped, I was able to get in the gym, get reps up,” Kleber said. “I was dealing with my foot before. I know I’m going to get those shots. I just got to keep shooting them.”

The forward’s performance in Game 5 marked a significant upturn in his scoring output, as he had not exceeded six points in any of the series’ first four games. It was a timely contribution, especially considering the Mavericks' shooting struggles, helping to open up the floor for teammates Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving.

“It’s very important for us with Luka and Kai running the offense,” Kleber said. “The more they attack, the defense will collapse and everybody else will be open. That’s how we create those shots.”

Doncic appreciated the impact Kleber provided, making it easier to operate in the half-court by having a spacing threat making timely shots.

“Amazing, man,” Doncic said. “I think we created a lot of open shots. And Maxi knocking down three in a row, that helped. The whole team, the energy, the bench was into the game. He was very big today. Big shots.”

Irving issues some lofty praise for Kleber, describing him as having a "beautiful game." It's a designation he rarely offers.

"He had a beautiful game tonight and I don't use that word lightly," Irving said of Kleber. "I don't even say that about people's games, but tonight was beautiful because of just his positioning and his jump shots and his balance."

When describing Kleber's impact, Irving praised how the veteran big man stayed prepared to shoot when he was spacing the floor. It's an approach Irving stresses to the whole team that in the playoffs, it's vital to make the opposition have to respect.

"If you look back at some of the film, he was ready to shoot. And that's what we need from all our guys, not just Maxi," Irving said. "But when we get that addition of scoring off the bench, and defensively we're in the right spots, then it looks good. So it was a beautiful game by him, and he was in the right spots pretty often."

Kidd emphasized Kleber’s integral role on both ends of the court, emphasizing how he's filled his role at a "very high level" for the Mavericks. He's often been the choice to close out games as a small ball center while being capable of playing next to either Daniel Gafford or Dereck Lively II during earlier portions of games.

“Maxi’s role doesn’t change,” Kidd stated. “He’s out there to help defensively and on the offensive end to spread the floor and knock down open threes or make a play for a teammate. His role hasn’t changed and he’s playing his role at a very high level right now.”

Kleber, modest about his standout game, pointed to the team's collective effort. The Mavericks' bench contributed 52 points in the victory, with Kleber’s performance a highlight in a well-rounded team effort.

“It doesn’t matter who’s playing great for us,” Kleber said. “If we score or we win, it doesn’t matter who it is, we celebrate together. Obviously, it’s a nice feeling to be that guy and to get the shots and also make them. But overall, you want to win as a team and make the right plays.”

As the series returns to Dallas for Game 6, the Mavericks aim to capitalize on their current momentum to close it at home.

Grant Afseth


Grant Afseth is a Dallas Mavericks reporter for and an NBA reporter for NBA Analysis Network. He previously covered the Indiana Pacers and NBA for CNHI's Kokomo Tribune and various NBA teams for USA TODAY Sports Media Group. Follow him on Twitter (@grantafseth), Facebook (@grantgafseth), and YouTube (@grantafseth). You can reach Grant at