Monday’s result: Los Angeles Clippers 109, Dallas Mavericks 99 ... and we've got Mavs Donuts
DONUT 1: SAD STATS You tell me the Mavs shoot 49 percent, make 17 3-pointers and hit 80 percent of their free throws and I’ll tell you it’s usually a victory. Usually. But not Monday night, when not only did they lose they were also held under 100 points.
READ MORE: GAMER FROM INSIDE THE AAC via Bri Amaranthus
Explanation: Out-rebounded by 13, limited free throws and were beaten to almost every 50/50 ball by the faster, feistier Clippers.
DONUT 2: BAD BOOKENDS Mavs started poorly, and ended with a whimper. They were passive in falling behind 29-15 early. And after Tim Hardaway Jr.’s 3-pointer pulled them within 103-99 late, they disappeared. Dallas didn’t score in the final 3:15, missing five shots (including three, 30-foot 3-pointers) and committing two turnovers.
Can’t expect to beat an elite team in a quality game with spotty stretches.
DONUT 3: STAR POWERLESS Luka Doncic and Kawhi Leonard both dominated the game, but can’t remember the last time both shot airballs in the final three minutes of crunch time. Had to do a double-take.
DONUT 4: BOUNCE-BACK BOYS Clippers are now 7-0 in the second game of back-to-backs.
DONUT 5: SIGNIFICANT SEQUEL Mavs have won the season series from two teams (Nuggets and Spurs) they are chasing in Western Conference standings. To do the same against the Clippers, they need to take the third and final game from L.A. Wednesday night at American Airlines Center.
DONUT 6: DISPOSITION DEFICIT The Mavs were coming off a huge win in Denver. The Clippers came in off a blowout loss in New Orleans. The difference in mindsets showed up vividly. L.A. was angry, physical and focused. Ivica Zubac set the tone early with offensive rebounds and authoritative dunks.
DONUT 7: CHINTZY CHARITY Mavs didn’t make a free throw until 1.2 seconds remaining … in the third quarter. They only shot five, and one of those resulted from a technical foul on Clippers’ coach Tyronn Lue.
It’s the fewest free-throw attempts by an NBA team this season. ... and it ties a franchise record.
The most blatant swallowed whistle occurred at the end of the third when Doncic was – seemingly – bumped by Terance Mann while making an acrobatic 3-pointer. Referee Leon Wood, however, ruled the foul on the floor, likely influenced by L.A.’s foul to give.
Doncic vehemently voiced his displeasure and Rick Carlisle even called a timeout to challenge what should have been a chance at a four-point play. Like the entire evening, unfortunately for Dallas it wasn’t reversible.
“I’m not going to say anything,” Luka said after the game. “I’m not trying to get fined. That’s how they called it tonight. Hopefully, they’ll call it better next time.”
DONUT 8: STAGGERING STAT Barely 22 years old, Luka has more triple-doubles than Bob Cousy. His 25-10-16 was the 34th of his career, passing the legendary Celtic for 11th on the all-time list. Of the NBA’s last nine games of 25-10-15, Doncic owns eight of them.
DONUT 9: PRETTY-AND-ROLL You see alley-oops. You see back-door cuts. You see layups. But rarely do we get treated to all three on the same play … that originates beyond the 3-point line. Standing 25 feet from the hoop, Willie Cauley-Stein passed to Doncic near mid-court. Seeing an opening, he immediately zipped toward the rim and behind L.A.’s defense. Doncic saw the play even before Cauley-Stein, and delivered an on-time, on-target, two-handed chest pass that led the 7-footer to an easy layup and one of the best give-and-go’s you’ll see all season.
DONUT 10: PLAYOFF ATMOSPHERE Two of these teams’ last three games featured mammoth blowouts, the Clippers winning Game 5 of last summer’s playoff series by 43 and Dallas recording the largest halftime lead in NBA history (50) on Dec. 27. But this one was tight throughout.
In the end, however, the Clippers looked like big brother just strong enough to keep little bro at arm’s length.
DONUT 11: SPRING BACKWARD We changed our clocks, but these teams haven’t exactly swapped identities. Until further notice, when the Clippers play at their best, the Mavs will struggle to beat them.
DONUT 12: THE FINAL WORD From a shot-clock violation on their first possession, the Mavs swam upstream all night and were outplayed and out-scrapped by the hungrier Clippers. In a game that had a playoff feel, the Mavs were reminded about crunch-time defense and lethargic offensive execution.
This loss makes Wednesday’s rematch even more crucial. ... with Dallas hoping to not get "little-brother'ed'' again.