Are you not entertained?
After losing two consecutive games on their home court, the Dallas Mavericks, led by masterful young superstar Luka Doncic, put together one of their best defensive performances of the season to beat the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 5 by the final score of 105-100.
With the win, the Mavs now force the Clippers to the brink of elimination by taking a 3-2 series lead. Neither team has been able to win at home in this best-of-seven series.
Doncic finished this one with 42 points, 14 assists, and eight rebounds in 43 minutes of play. Despite only shooting 17-of-37 from the field, Doncic went 6-of-12 from deep. Doncic scored 27 of his 42 points in the first half alone.
“Today I was feeling way better,” said Doncic, playing with a neck strain. “It wasn’t (hurting) that much. … The most important thing was rest, and … massage.”
There are only two players in NBA history to record at least 40 points and 10 assists in multiple playoff games: LeBron James, who has done it four times in his stellar career, and Luka Doncic, who has already done it twice in just 11 career playoff games at the age of 22.
Tim Hardaway Jr. didn't shoot the ball well overall in Game 5, going just 6-of-19 from the field, but he was the team's second-leading scorer with 20 points, which included a clutch three-pointer and free throws down the stretch of the game.
Kristaps Porzingis only had eight points on 3-of-6 from shooting for the night, but like Hardaway Jr., he hit a huge three-pointer late in the game to keep the Clippers' comeback at bay.
After two straight games of the Clippers going small with their lineups, Rick Carlisle's counter was to go even bigger than they already were by inserting Boban Marjanovic into the starting lineup for Maxi Kleber.
Dwight Powell was another Mavs' big man to get a decent amount of minutes tonight. Powell notched a series-high 22 minutes while putting up eight points, seven rebounds, a couple of which were huge offensive boards in the fourth quarter, and two assists. Powell's energy was infectious, and he played well enough that we might see even more of him in Game 6.
Out of all the important individual performances in Game 5, Doncic credited Dorian Finney-Smith as being the game’s most valuable player. Finney-Smith only scored eight points on 2-of-9 shooting, but he also recorded a career-high (regular season and postseason) with five steals, three of which came in the final 6:13 of the game.
"It was one guy: Dorian Finney-Smith,” said Doncic. “He was the key to our win."
The Mavs will now fly back to Dallas for Game 6 on Friday night at American Airlines Center. With a win, Dallas would clinch its first playoff series win in a decade.
Said Hardaway: “The last time I checked it was the first one to four. … So it’s going to come down to who’s going to be the first team to win at home. And that’s what we’re shifting our focus to right now.”