Saturday, May 25, 2024

Clippers erase 25-point deficit but lose to Mavericks

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By SCHUYLER DIXON AP Sports Writer

DALLAS — On the second night of back-to-back road games, the Clippers put together a strong second half before coming up just short.

Luka Doncic scored 35 points, Dorian Finney-Smith added 21 and the Dallas Mavericks watched the Clippers erase all of their 25-point lead before regrouping and holding on for a 103-101 victory on Tuesday night.

Reggie Bullock broke out of a shooting slump with four 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, including two in a row to put Dallas ahead for good at 99-93 with less than two minutes remaining.

With the Mavericks leading by one in the final 30 seconds, Doncic grabbed an errant pass that was headed out of bounds and just beat the shot clock with a deep 3-pointer on the wing near the left sideline. The Mavericks superstar gave the home crowd the universal “hush” symbol with an index finger to the lips afterward.

“I wanted a celebration,” Doncic said. “I’m not going to shush our fans, so I don’t know why I did that.”

They ignored him and went home happy.

Paul George scored 23 points, playing the entire second half to try to keep the Clippers’ rally going a night after they won in Houston.

“He got tired,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said. “That was on me. They were double-teaming him, just like we wanted them to do. We just had to complete some of the passes, which we didn’t do.”

Nicolas Batum scored the first 21 of his 22 points all on 3-pointers without a miss, then was fouled on purpose trying to get off a 3-point attempt with the Clippers down three in the final seconds.

Batum made the first free throw and missed the second on purpose, with the rebound going out of bounds off the Clippers. Dallas inbounded after a timeout and ran out the final 3.2 seconds.

The Mavericks led by 25 late in the first half, but the lead was down to two late in the third quarter and gone with about eight minutes remaining in a back-and-forth final quarter.

The Clippers completed a 30-point swing by taking a five-point lead with eight minutes left before Dallas quickly jumped back in front.

John Wall replaced Luke Kennard to start the second half and scored 10 of his 17 points in the third quarter. Kennard didn’t return after leaving with a right calf strain less than three minutes in.

Marcus Morris Sr. scored 18 for the Clippers, who shot above 72% from the field (23 for 32), including a 7-for-13 mark from behind the arc, after halftime.

Bullock finished with 13 points, and Spencer Dinwiddie had 16 for Dallas.

TIP-INS

Clippers: Batum is the first Clippers player to finish a game perfect from 3-point range with at least seven attempts. … The Clippers shot 11 for 32 from the field in the first half (34.4%) and their 15-point first quarter matched their lowest for any quarter this season. … As expected, two-time NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, who made the two-game trip to Texas, was out again for right knee injury management. He hasn’t played since the third game of the season.

Mavericks: Center JaVale McGee was inactive due to a neck strain. … Forward Maxi Kleber went to the locker room after getting upended onto his back in the second quarter, but returned before the end of the first half.

UP NEXT

The Clippers host the Detroit Pistons on Thursday night. The Clippers have won six in a row in the series and are 20-4 since the 2009-10 season, when the Clippers ended a 13-game losing streak against the Pistons.

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