Tuesday’s Game 2 result: Dallas Mavericks 127, Los Angeles Clippers 121 ... and we've got Mavs Donuts
DONUT 1: DOUBLE TROUBLE Admit it, you’re either surprised or you’re lying.
The Mavs won Game 1 with Luka Doncic scoring only one point in the fourth quarter and they nabbed Game 2 despite their star missing five free throws and committing seven turnovers.
READ MORE: Mavs 127, Clippers 121
Of course, he also threw in 39 points, including a one-legged 3-pointer that shocked the Clippers ...
... and brought Dirk Nowitzki (more below) to his feet in the Staples Center stands.
"The mentality was to go out there, play aggressive, have fun,'' Luka said. "That's it. That's how our mentality is.''
DONUT 2: EXCELLENT EXECUTION The Mavs were wobbling and the Clippers were rallying. With a 13-point lead cut to 120-116 in the final two minutes, L.A. trapped the ball out of Luka’s hands. He calmly found Dorian Finney-Smith at the free-throw line, and a patient turn to the left found an open Tim Hardaway Jr. on the right wing. His swished 3-pointer – his sixth of the game – slammed the door on Dallas’ improbable 2-0 lead.
Said Hardaway Jr. of the big shot: "Something that you live for, man."
Moral to the story: Luka doesn’t panic, and his teammates follow.
DONUT 3: HECTIC HALF Let’s face it, the first half had all the defensive intensity of an All-Star Game. Not that they can’t get any shot they want at any time in any game, but Kawhi Leonard and Doncic were basically playing H-O-R-S-E in the first 24 minutes.
Despite Luka’s 23 and the Mavs shooting 67 percent, they actually trailed 73-71 at the half. The 144 combined points tied the most in a playoff first half in Mavs’ history (Game 2 of 2003 West semifinals vs. Kings).
DONUT 4: LUKA’S LEGEND Leonard desperately wanted this to be his game.
He was aggressive early. He rarely came out of the game. He finished with a game-high 41 points. But as the Clippers attempted to claw their way back, Luka trumped Kawhi.
He drove around Nicolas Batum for a layup. He muscled Patrick Beverly for a short banker. He backed Leonard – the two-time Defensive Player of the Year – into the lane and then scored over him on a finesse fadeaway for a 98-86 lead.
You get the feeling Luka loves the challenge of playing against the best when he’s at his best.
Said Luka: "If you want to win the championship, at the end of the day you've got to win against everybody. ... You just go out there and play.''
DONUT 5: SKINNING A CAT On April 17, 1984 the Mavs won their first ever playoff game over the Seattle Supersonics, 88-86. In that game they made – and attempted – exactly 0 3-pointers. To win Game 2 against the Clippers they made 18 3s, after pouring in 17 in Game 1.
Safe to say the game has changed a smidge in 37 years.
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DONUT 6: KRAZY KRISTAPS And, no, we’re not talking about Porzingis’ rule-breaking stroll through an L.A. strip club that got him fined $50,000 by the league.
The Mavs’ big man made two 3-pointers with assists from two of the weirdest bounces you’ll ever see. He launched a corner triple that hit both sides of the rim and then danced – almost stopping – on the heel before slowly rolling in. To top that, his fourth-quarter, straightaway shot hit the same back of the rim, caromed a good six feet in the air before swishing through the net.
It’s better to be lucky, and good. And wealthy enough to shrug off $50,000 fines.
"What happened is a mistake on my part,'' KP said after the game. "I was honestly a little bit confused with the protocols and made a mistake and paid for it. And I'm glad we're able to get the win tonight and I was able to play. So I'm looking forward to what's coming but it's a mistake on my part.''
DONUT 7: THREE-PEAT You can break down all the x’s and o’s you want, but – again – if the Mavs make 18 3-pointers they are going to beat the Clippers and win this series handily.
In two games, Dallas has made 35 3-pointers; the Clippers only 24. The Mavs improved to 35-0 when they have a better 3-point shooting percentage than their opponent.
DONUT 8: DIRK DELIVERS The sight of the Hall of Famer in the stands behind Dallas’ bench wasn’t lost on coach Rick Carlisle.
“It was a profound lift to see that playoff warrior,” the head coach said. “I certainly believe him being there was a lucky charm. It never hurts.”
Luka got himself a piece of that by seeking out Dirk for some early-morning dap.
DONUT 9: MARVELOUS MORRIS Let’s all remember last Summer in the bubble when Marcus Morris played the role of “tough guy.” He accidentally-on-purpose stepped on Luka’s already sprained ankle, then two games later was ejected for a flagrant foul for a violent chop on Doncic’s neck and shoulder.
Through two games, revenge is being served.
The series’ dirtiest player is performing miserably. Which, for the Mavs, is delicious. Morris was three of 15 and missed his first seven 3-pointers of the series before he made a couple. But before he could get hot, Morris fouled out on an obvious moving screen set on Kleber.
DONUT 10: L.A. DÉJÀ VU The only other time the Mavs started a playoff series by winning the first two games on the road … occurred in this same building. In 2011 they shocked the Lakers en route to a sweep in the West semifinals and, as you know, ultimately won the championship.
The big number now? Teams that start 2-0 win NBA series 94 percent of the time.
Said Hardaway: "It's just creeping into what we can become. We've just got to keep on focusing in and locking in.''
DONUT 11: DEFINITIVE DEFENSE In the first half Leonard and Paul George ran a layup line on the Mavs. Uncontested cruises. Unfettered drives into the lane. Leonard poured in 30 points and the Clippers rang up 73. Thanks to the length of Maxi Kleber and Porzingis, those numbers were drastically reduced in the second half with Leonard scoring only 11 and Dallas holding L.A. to 48.
“It was a completely different tone in the second half,” Carlisle said. “We didn’t allow them to take the same liberties that they did in the first half.”
DONUT 12: THE FINAL WORD Shockingly, the Mavs are in control of this series after two relatively comfortable wins at Staples Center. Now they return to American Airlines Center for Games 3 and 4, where 15,000 fans will provide them with a decided home-court advantage.
“Just being able to get two on the road, it’s great,” Hardaway said. “But we know we still got more work to be done. We’ve been doing a great job of winning on the road all year. Once you’re out there competing and you got the fans there, you’re playing for something. But there’s a lot of work left to do.”