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The Big Payback (Clippers at Mavericks; 02.12.22)

Ross James/ALOST

akoiki-passport2 – by Adesina O. Koiki
A Lot of Sports Talk editor-in-chief

DALLAS — For the second time in the span of 48 hours, the Los Angeles Clippers almost were spectators as Luka Doncic turned a quarter in a game to a personal scoring spree. This time around in the latest game between the two opponents, the Clippers found just enough to not let “Luka Magic” result in a heartbreaking defeat.

Reggie Jackson scored 24 points while Terance Mann chipped in with 21 as Los Angeles withstood a 23-point fourth quarter from Doncic — as well as a three-point attempt by Doncic at the buzzer which would have won the game — and defeated Dallas 99-97 on Friday evening at American Airlines Center.

Los Angeles led by as many as 10 points in the fourth quarter in a frame that Luka Doncic scored 23 of the Mavericks’ 30 points in the quarter on his way to 45 points. On Wednesday, Doncic scored 28 first-quarter points on his way to a career-high 51 points in a Mavericks’ 112-105 victory.

“I just want to win. I don’t care if he had 90,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said. “Hats off to him for playing great, but I thought our team did a hell of a job. We know he can dominate the game with his passing and his scoring . We wanted to try to limit him to being a scorer, and he did it again, unfortunately. But we were able to weather the storm.”

These teams have developed a healthy rivalry over the past two seasons, with the Clippers winning playoff series against the Mavericks in seven games both in 2020 bubble and last season. Both Doncic and Mann, Doncic’s primary defender in the game, received double technical fouls for jawing at each other after a Doncic basket in the fourth quarter. The frustration was understandable from the Clippers’ perspective, as Doncic, err, Dallas continued to chip into Los Angeles’ lead in the fourth. Luka’s layup with eight seconds to go in the game cut the Clippers’ lead to 98-97 before Jackson split a pair of free throws.

On the last possession, Doncic, almost inconceivably, received the inbounds pass while completely open high on the left wing, but his three-pointer was off to the left at the buzzer and allowed the Clippers to snap a three-game losing streak.

“My first three quarters were awful and no energy,” said Doncic, who became the first player to score at least 96 points combined in consecutive games against the same team since Wilt Chamberlain pulled off the feat against Seattle in December 1967. “We had a chance there to win or to tie the game. We put ourselves in position to win and that’s a good thing, but obviously we could have handled things better.”

*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Saturday evening’s game, with all photos taken by Dallas-area photographer Ross James. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 16 pictures in total.

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Tags : Dallas MavericksLos Angeles ClippersNBA

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