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Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving lead Mavs over Clippers 96-93 to tie series as Kawhi Leonard returns



Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving lead Mavs over Clippers 96-93 to tie series as Kawhi Leonard returns
Google News Recentlyheard

Google News Recentlyheard

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Led by Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving, the Dallas Mavericks bounced again to remove home-court benefit from the Los Angeles Clippers and newly returned and rusty Kawhi Leonard.

Doncic scored 32 factors, Irving added 23 and the Mavs received 96-93 on Tuesday night time to tie their Western Convention first-round playoff sequence at a sport apiece.

“Clearly it was a must-win and everyone was locked in,” mentioned P.J. Washington Jr., who had a giant fourth quarter and completed with 18 factors. “They punched us within the mouth in Recreation 1 and we simply wished to reply.”

Recreation 3 is Friday in Dallas.

Leonard had 15 factors and 7 rebounds in 35 minutes of his first sport since March 31. He hadn’t performed or had any contact practices throughout that stretch due to irritation in his surgically repaired proper knee.

“I felt good,” Leonard mentioned. “We nonetheless obtained extra video games to play and extra time to get higher. Simply maintain making an attempt to get a rhythm again.”

The Mavs led a lot of the sport two days after they trailed by 29 factors and finally misplaced 109-97.

“We performed 48 minutes of bodily basketball,” Dallas coach Jason Kidd mentioned. “Each groups have been below 100. It was ‘90s basketball at its greatest.”

Paul George and James Harden led the Clippers with 22 factors every. Ivica Zubac had 13 factors and 12 rebounds. The staff shot 37% from the ground and made simply 8 of 30 3-pointers.

Leonard appeared to select up steam after halftime and was extra lively defensively.

“Kawhi is among the greatest on the planet,” George mentioned. “He’s going to search out his rhythm and we’re going to search out our rhythm round him.”

Affected by poor capturing and behind for a lot of the sport, the Clippers started rallying within the third. Trailing by seven, they outscored the Mavs 19-10 down the stretch to take a 66-65 lead into the fourth. Doncic tied the sport at 65-all earlier than getting referred to as for a technical. Harden’s free throw offered the slender lead.

“It’s been a very long time since he obtained a technical, so I believe he was simply making an attempt to see if he might get a technical,” Kidd mentioned. “He’s utilizing that to get himself going.”

The Clippers stored it up within the fourth, taking a 73-67 lead.

That’s when the Mavs scored 14 straight factors to take an 81-73 lead. Washington hit a 3-pointer in entrance of the Clippers’ bench, and Doncic and Irving adopted with ones of their very own within the spurt.

Zubac’s dunk lower the Clippers’ deficit to 84-81 earlier than Maxi Kleber and Doncic sank consecutive 3s.

“The second half is the way in which we must always play the entire sport,” Doncic mentioned. “We obtained to study from that.”

The Clippers trailed 93-90 on Leonard’s basket with 20 seconds left. Irving was referred to as for a foul, which the Mavs challenged and obtained it overturned. Irving made 3 of 4 free throws earlier than George sank a 3-pointer on the buzzer.

“I had two timeouts and we felt we might burn one on a problem,” Kidd mentioned. “Kyrie mentioned he hit the basketball and he was proper.”

Mavs beginning heart Daniel Gafford damage his decrease again three minutes into the sport, however returned within the second quarter though he was scoreless. Tim Hardaway Jr. sprained his proper ankle and didn’t return.