By Antonis Stroggylakis / firstname.lastname@example.org
With 9:28 to play in Game 6 of the Dallas Mavericks – Los Angeles Clippers series, Luka Doncic hit one of his trademark stepback jumpers from beyond the arc to make it 88 – 82. He was heroically leading another comeback charge for his team after the Clippers had taken a 23-point lead in the third quarter.
Kawhi Leonard answered with consecutive buckets as the Clippers once again grabbed a double-digit advantage that they retained until the end. Doncic’s valiant efforts weren’t enough for the Mavs this time and his first-time NBA trip was coming to an end.
The Clippers beat the Mavericks 111 – 97 and won the series 4 – 2 behind Leonard’s 33 points, 14 rebounds, seven assists and five steals. The 2019 Finals MVP became the first Clipper to post 30+ points and five+ steals in the playoffs (per Clippers).
At 21 years of age and an NBA sophomore, Doncic completed his debut postseason run in the league with 38 points, nine rebounds and nine assists to cap a package of historic performances in the playoffs. Overall, the Slovenian point forward averaged 29.6 points, 10.0 rebounds and 8.6 assists while single-handedly carrying the Mavs, which had been Kristaps Porzingis-less after Game 3. He set and broke multiple NBA and franchise records thanks to the mammoth numbers he registered throughout the series.
After the game, Leonard spoke highly of Doncic and the fighting character that he amply showed against the Clippers. “He’s a great player. Battled every minute he was on the floor. Didn’t back down, led his team every game. He did a great job out there.” Leonard’s respect for his young opponent came in complete contrast with the attitude Marcus Morris exhibited when he aggressively (and clearly intentionally) hit Doncic on the head during a drive attempt by the latter. Morris, who had also stepped on Doncic’s injured foot in Game 5, was ejected with a flagrant II foul.
For another game in the series, Ivica Zubac emerged as a key contributor for the Clippers, finishing with 15 points and 11 rebounds. On the other side, Maxi Kleber posted nine points and six rebounds while Bobaj Marjanovic had eight points and six boards.