Friday’s GAME 6 result: Los Angeles Clippers 104, Dallas Mavericks 97 ... and we've got Mavs Donuts …
DONUT 1: CLASSIC KAWHI After a relative clunker in Game 5 in which committed uncharacteristic turnovers and air-balled a potential game-tying 3-pointer in the last five seconds. Kawhi Leonard returned to being Superman.
GAME STORY: Mavs Lose Game 6
When the Mavs were seemingly taking control with a 67-60 lead late in the third quarter, he went on a personal 11-0 run. Then in the fourth he hit two crucial jumpers – including a 3-pointer – right in Luka Doncic’s mug. In Game 6, the Clippers’ superstar outshined the Mavs’ superstar.
Said Doncic, “He had a hell of a game. ... He destroyed us.''
DONUT 2: PASSIVE TO A FAULT? The Clippers made an adjustment on Luka, defending him with bigger players Marcus Morris and Nicolas Batum and coming at him with late double-teams. Shrewd strategy notwithstanding, Doncic was too passive for a closeout game at home.
Difficult to criticize a guy who produces 29 points and 11 rebounds, but Luka has to be even better.
DONUT 3: LATE LINEUP The Mavs won Game 5 and led Game 6 early with a big lineup featuring Boban Marjanovic. Obviously Rick Carlisle didn’t trust Boban down the stretch, going instead with Maxi Kleber. But Kleber passed up a couple of open 3-pointers and went scoreless in 21 minutes after Boban produced 12 points and generally had the Clippers scratching their head on how to deal with his size and skill in the paint.
Carlisle did not, in fact, dance with the one who brought him.
DONUT 4: FOOL’S GOLD Doncic on the bench is always a dicey proposition for the Mavs. But with him out at the start of the second quarter the Mavs got two jumpers from Jalen Brunson and actually outscored the Clippers, 9-4. That luxury, however, evaporated when Luka re-entered and the Mavs were outscored, 18-8, on the way to halftime.
Somehow the Mavs were only down three at intermission despite a ghastly 17-point second quarter.
DONUT 5: TROUBLING TREND In the last two fourth quarters the Mavs have scored only a combined 36 points.
Reason? Among the 16 playoff teams, they are dead last in fast-break points and points in the paint, meaning that when the screws tighten and the pace slows they have to rely solely on their half-court execution and jump-shooting.
Not a comfortable recipe for a potentially nerve-racking Game 7.
DONUT 6: MR. JUNE When the Mavs again jumped out to an emotion-fueled quick start and lead, it was Reggie Jackson who kept the Clippers afloat. He was 5 of 5 with two 3-pointers in the first quarter and finished with 25 points, making us forget Rajon Rondo and conjuring images of his “Mr. October” baseball namesake.
DONUT 7: MOUNT COACHMORE? Don’t look now, but Carlisle is the second longest-tenured head coach in DFW sports history. Only one man has coached a team longer than Carlisle’s 13 seasons for the Mavs.
His name? Tom Landry.
Given his longevity and championship, Carlisle belongs on DFW’s Mount Coachmore with Landy, the Dallas Stars’ Ken Hitchcock and Jimmy Johnson (over the Texas Rangers’ Ron Washington).
We can pick apart decisions gone wrong in Game 6. (Stay tuned.) But overall? It’s comforting to know you’ve got Carlisle on your side here.
“We’re headed for Game 7,” he said. “And it’s going to be a great opportunity for our team. We’ll be excited, and we’ll be ready.
DONUT 8: INVISIBLE GIANT The Mavs need Kristaps Porzingis to play, well, bigger.
He had only seven points and five rebounds in 31 ho-hum minutes. For a 7-foot-3 player blessed with immense skill, he’s barely noticeable in this series. Dallas’ blueprint calls for him to be Robin to Luka’s Batman, but he’s been held under 10 points in three of the last four games and has only one 20-point game in the series. That’s just too much pressure on Doncic and Tim Hardaway Jr.
We wrote about what KP must be in Game 6 for Dallas to win. He wasn't that.
Every Mav is carrying his load in this series, except Porzingis. The end.
DONUT 9: WORST WHISTLE For the most part the refs let the players play in Game 6 and I have absolutely no problem with that.
Except for, that is, the worst call of the series.
In the second quarter Marjanovic had inside position and would’ve grabbed an offensive rebound in the lane had Morris not blatantly hooked his left arm. Inexplicably, Boban was whistled for the foul. Fittingly, the 18,000+ at AAC serenaded the blown call with “Ref you suck!”
DONUT 10: BEAT L.A.! When that chant broke out early in the fourth quarter for a second I thought I was at Reunion Arena in the mid-1980s and Mark Aguirre was trying to score on James Worthy. Great crowd again at AAC. And no news of unruly fan behavior. Bravo!
DONUT 11: GUESSING GAME You wanna predict what will happen in Game 7 at 2:30 CT on Sunday in L.A.? Be my guest.
The climax of the wackiest playoff series in NBA history should be … unpredictable.
The road team has won all six games. Never happened before. Ever. Can the Mavs win a Game 7? Absolutely. Can they be emotionally gutted over this loss and get blown out? Absolutely. Will we be enthralled? Absolutely. The Mavs are 3-0 on the road. The Clippers are 3-0 on the road. NBA playoff teams are 21-20 on the road. Go figure.
“This is what you live for, to get to these moments, to play in Game 7 in the playoffs on the road,” Hardaway said. “I’ve never done it before. It’s something big, something exciting, something you dream of. So, we’ll get our rest, and be ready to go into a hostile environment.
“It’s not going to be easy. This whole series hasn’t been easy.”
DONUT 12: THE FINAL WORD After this hopeful closeout chance and heartbreaking loss, the Mavs have to somehow regroup and do something they’ve done only once in their 41-season history: Win a Game 7 on the road. Only victory came at San Antonio in 2006
.Said Luka, “It’s OK, we’re still motivated. There’s no reason we can’t win. We have to believe. It’s Game 7, doesn’t matter where you are.”