Fresh off a slump-busting win over the Miami Heat on Friday night, the Dallas Mavericks looked to build even more momentum against the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday afternoon at American Airlines Center.
In what was originally slated to be a 6:30 p.m. CT start time, the game got moved up to 1:30 p.m. CT due to the Dallas Cowboys taking on the San Fransisco 49ers in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs.
Whether it was due to the time change or not, the Mavs didn't play a sharp game as they ultimately fell to the Clippers, 112-98. Dallas fell to 25-23 on the season and the Clippers improved to 25-24.
Luka Doncic led the way for Dallas by putting up 29 points, 10 rebounds and four assists while shooting 9-21 from the field, 3-7 from deep and 8-13 from the free-throw line. Although he ended the game with a decent stat line, Doncic was flustered by the officiating throughout the entire game.
As frustrated as he might be, Doncic must find a way to reel in his emotions at times to keep it from affecting the rest of the team. Attitude is everything, and the Mavs need their MVP leader to help them push through tough situations when things aren't going their way.
Speaking of even-keeled attitudes, Kawhi Leonard dominated as he normally does against the Mavs by leading the Clippers with 30 points on 10-18 shooting overall and a perfect 7-7 from the free-throw line. L.A. also got 21 points from Paul George and 19 points from Norman Powell on Sunday.
Tim Hardaway Jr. and Spencer Dinwiddie joined Doncic as the only other Mavericks to score in double-figures. Hardaway put in 22 points while shooting 5-10 from deep, and Dinwiddie had 21 points, four rebounds and five assists while shooting 8-18 overall.
Although it wasn't the deciding factor in the Mavs' loss, free-throw shooting kept the game from being closer in the final minutes than it could've been. Dallas shot 15-26 from the free-throw line, whereas Los Angeles shot a near-perfect 30-31. The Clippers also out-rebounded the Mavs by a 46-38 margin and won in the bench-scoring category, 40-9.
Next up, the Mavs will finish their four-game homestand against Kristaps Porzingis and the Washington Wizards on Tuesday. The last time these two teams met, a shorthanded Wizards' squad defeated the Mavs
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