DALLAS - The Dallas Mavericks lost to the Los Angeles Clippers, 109-99, in an electric American Airlines Center filled with a season-high 4,500 fans.
The energy from the fans was palpable, as was the trash talking from the two foes. ... but for Dallas, anyway, the free-throw shooting was low.
"I'm not going to say anything,'' said Luka Doncic on the subject of the Mavs attempting a franchise-record-tying low of five free throws. "I'm not going to try to get fined.''
The view of the refs was heated, just as the recent history between these two teams is heated. The Mavs embarrassed L.A. in the recent December matchup and a 51-point Dallas win, but the Clippers ended the Mavs playoff run in 2020 ... and many fans remembered (and boo'd) Marcus Morris tonight in Dallas for his flagrant foul committed that knocked Doncic to the ground in Game 6.
A lethargic first quarter plagued Dallas, falling behind by 14 points to a Clippers team that started the game shooting 69 percent. The Mavs rallied back in the second quarter to put themselves in a position to battle it out with much thanks to back-to-back threes by Luka Doncic. While Doncic was the offensive catalyst to close the gap, Kristaps Porzingis provided the needed defensive presence on Clippers star Kawhi Leonard.
The Mavs duo continued to cook. Porzingis wowed with some buckets from the logo totaling 13 points in the third quarter alone and 22 for the game. Doncic led all scorers with 25 points.
Tim Hardaway Jr. added timely three-pointers for the Mavs, finishing with 21 points off the bench.
In only his third start this season, Morris had a solid game with 14 points while Leonard lead the Clippers with 22 points.
The Mavs were able to cut the deficit to four points in the chippy affair with 3:13 remaining but could not get enough stops to threaten the Clippers. On the other hand, LA turned up the heat on defense and displayed why they are one of the most aggressive teams in the league to steal the win in Dallas.
Next up, the Mavs again battle the Clippers on Wednesday in a nationally televised ESPN game at 8:30 p.m. CT. Maybe Dallas will get to the line a bit. And, in fairness to the refs, maybe Dallas will find a way to score in the final three minutes, which did not happen here.
"You can't make every shot, obviously,'' said Doncic, while taking the blame for the game-closing drought. "That's on me."