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5 takeaways from a defensive-minded Game 3



5 takeaways from a defensive-minded Game 3

The Mavs pressured 19 turnovers in Sport 3 as they grabbed a 2-1 sequence lead over the Clippers.

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DALLAS – Daniel Gafford embodied Dallas’ response to LA’s effort Friday evening to steal one at American Airways Heart.

Not right here. Not tonight.

A gametime resolution to play as a consequence of decrease again soreness, Gafford mustered the moxie to stuff Paul George chilly on the rim within the fourth quarter of the Mavericks’ 101-90 victory in Sport 3 over the Clippers. The sequence highlighted Dallas’ resolve to guard house court docket earlier than a sellout crowd of 20,402.

It additionally despatched LA a message concerning the problem it faces now, down 2-1 forward of Sunday’s Sport 4 conflict in Dallas.

In a chippy affair that includes ejections of Russell Westbrook and PJ Washington, guard Luka Doncic produced his lowest scoring output of those playoffs. That mattered little within the face of a “lob metropolis” evening right here in Dallas bolstered one other second-half gem from Kyrie Irving.

Listed below are 5 takeaways from Sport 3:

1. Lob Metropolis in Large D

The Clippers as soon as held the “Lob Metropolis” nickname in the course of the period of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.

The Mavs made it theirs for Sport 3.

Dallas rocked the mic’d up rims, leaving the backboard bobbing all evening lengthy. The Mavs lobbed 5 profitable alley-oops for dunks within the first half that would’ve been six if not for a Derrick Jones Jr. miss.

Rookie Dereck Vigorous II ripped 4 dunks off a pair of assists from Doncic, in addition to dimes from Irving and Dante Exum. Gafford initiated the lob get together on the 6:49 mark of the opening quarter off an Irving help.

In all, the Mavs tallied eight lob dunks.

Dallas inflicted harm all evening with its bigs. Vigorous, Gafford, Jones and Washington mixed for 32 factors within the first half, because the Mavs outscored LA within the paint by 18 factors.

For the sport, Dallas outscored the Clippers within the paint, 52-38.

“Our bigs had been massive,” stated Dallas coach Jason Kidd. “I believe in Sport 1 we didn’t exist there. However I believed within the second half of Sport 1 we confirmed up. Since that second half, we’ve been taking part in Mavs basketball.”

2. Second-half KAI

Luka Doncic has found out work his recreation round Kyrie Irving’s dynamic skills, whereas the Clippers battle for offense.

There’s a particular sample this sequence of Doncic leaping on the Clippers within the first half, earlier than permitting Irving to get his shine on within the latter phases.

Irving repeated the blueprint in Sport 3, scoring two factors within the first half on 1-for-5 capturing, as Doncic poured in a game-high tying 14 factors headed into intermission. Irving racked up 19 of his 21 factors within the second half with 11 coming within the closing body on 4-for-8 capturing.

By means of the primary three video games on this sequence, Irving has averaged 20 factors within the second half on 21-for-35 from the sphere, and 9-for-15 from 3-point vary with 8 whole rebounds, 5 assists and 6 steals.

So, by now, the Clippers shouldn’t ever get lulled asleep by Irving’s sluggish begins.

“[It’s] simply his calming impact,” Kidd stated. “He’s by no means in a rush. He’s by no means gonna panic. He feels that all the things is beneath management.  The blokes belief him on the market on the ground. You may see that within the second half.”

3. Doncic impactful with out massive numbers

Sport 3 marked the primary time this sequence Doncic completed with fewer than 30 factors or extra. However the 25-year outdated managed to notch his second double-double of this postseason with a game-high 22 factors and 10 rebounds, additionally dishing 9 assists.

“Luka has to take what they’re giving,” Kidd stated. “The Clippers are a very good defensive crew. They’re bodily with Luka.”

Nonetheless, Doncic served as catalyst for Dallas outscoring LA 36-18 within the second quarter. That helped the Mavs seize a 14-point lead on the half. The five-time All-Star scored 12 factors with 5 rebounds and 5 assists within the quarter.

Doncic additionally notched two steals, demonstrating his underrated prowess as a defender.

“He’s gonna take the problem,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue stated. “When your finest participant takes that problem, you’re a complete totally different crew. He’s not recognized for his protection. However stepping up, taking that problem and need[ing] to play guys 1-on-1, meaning lots. He’s doing a very good job of guarding our guys.”

Doncic was simply 2-for-13 from the sphere within the second half, however Dallas was in a position to capitalize on 10 Clippers turnovers over that span for 16 factors.

In all, the Mavs scored 29 factors off 19 LA turnovers.

4. James Harden reaches postseason milestone

Harden declined to talk to reporters after Sport 3, however the veteran moved previous Magic Johnson to No. 16 in profession playoff factors (3,708). The 2018 Kia MVP tied Johnson within the second quarter with 9:08 remaining on a 24-foot stepback over Josh Inexperienced that gave LA a 32-25 lead.

The issue was Harden didn’t rating once more till simply 35.5 seconds remained within the third quarter. The purpose guard lastly handed Johnson in all-time postseason scoring by hitting a pair of free throws.

Harden scored 7 factors within the second half on simply 4 makes an attempt, regardless of taking part in a game-high 44 minutes.

5. No bounce-back recreation for Kawhi Leonard

Kawhi Leonard has been restricted in his return from harm, on the identical time that the Clippers are turning the ball over in quantity.

You simply knew a Leonard bounce-back efficiency was loading, particularly after a pedestrian efficiency (by his requirements) in Sport 2. The 32-year outdated flashed constructive indicators on each ends in that outing, even whereas banging off rust from not taking part in since March 31 as a consequence of knee irritation.

Sport 3 solely revealed the two-time Finals MVP nonetheless isn’t fairly himself.

Leonard performed simply 25 minutes, scoring 9 factors on 4-for-7 capturing with 9 rebounds and 4 turnovers. Lue admitted the membership remains to be exercising warning with the ahead as he continues to work his manner again.

Leonard performed simply 10 minutes within the first half.

“He’s looking for his manner again,” Lue stated. “We’re simply managing it. He has knee irritation. So, [we’re] simply being good, ensuring we’re doing proper by Kawhi, seeing how he feels. He’s nonetheless looking for his rhythm. We’ve obtained to verify we assist him do this.”

Along with scoring 15 factors in Sport 2, the veteran notched seven rebounds and 4 steals in 35 minutes. The Clippers listed Leonard as questionable for Sport 3. He’ll doubtless be given the identical designation for Sport 4.

“The best way it’s now, I’ll see tomorrow,” Leonard stated. “However I wish to play.”

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Michael C. Wright is a senior author for You may e-mail him right here, discover his archive right here and observe him on X.

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