Clippers remain undefeated in December with 120-111 win over Dallas

Clippers remain undefeated in December with 120-111 win over Dallas

The Clippers are still the hottest team in the NBA.

Behind Kawhi Leonard’s 10-point fourth-quarter takeover, when he got anywhere he wanted to stave off a late charge by Dallas, the Clippers beat the Mavericks 120-111 on Wednesday to extend their winning streak to nine, tied for the longest in the NBA this season.

The Clippers are 17-10 and remain unbeaten in December.

Leonard scored 30 points, with 10 rebounds and five assists, and James Harden scored 17 points with 11 assists as the Clippers prevailed despite the absence of Paul George, who was ill.

Luka Doncic scored 28 points for Dallas but needed 25 shots,

Dallas played without guard Kyrie Irving and rookie big man Dereck Lively II and, for much of the first quarter, offense by Doncic, who made two of his first nine shots against waves of defenders. They included Russell Westbrook, who came off the bench and disrupted Doncic by denying him the ball, and later halting him from dribbling past the three-point arc with his physicality.

Against the Clippers, limiting Doncic is the exception against the rule of his 32-point career average against them, his second-highest scoring average against any opponent. He scored 14 points in the second quarter, but it was the Clippers’ defensive breakdowns in other areas that led to being outscored 11-4 in the half’s final 3:11. Dallas grabbed three consecutive offensive rebounds before guard Tim Hardaway Jr. sank a three-pointer with 30 seconds before halftime to trim the Clippers’ once-22-point lead to 14. Doncic found Hardaway for another three in the last second before halftime to pull within 11, leading Clippers coach Tyronn Lue to shake his head while walking to the locker room.

Doncic was scoreless in the third quarter – and yet the Clippers’ lead dwindled from seven, to five, two and then one midway through the quarter, aided by seven Clippers turnovers. The ending was a repeat of the second quarter, Dallas finishing the third on a 10-2 run over last 3:41.

Through it all, the Clippers held their lead – until eight minutes to play in the fourth quarter, when a communication breakdown led to a corner three-pointer by Dallas and a 95-94 edge, the Mavericks’ first lead since midway through the first.

Leonard did not allow another meek finish when it mattered most.

Up one with 3:59 left, Leonard drove for a dunk off an assist by Terance Mann.

With 2:59 left, up three, he drove for a layup.

He assisted on a layup by Norm Powell half a minute later, then dunked with 1:47 to play to push the Clippers’ lead to six. The capper was his layup just 21 seconds later to push the lead to eight, and the win streak to nine.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *