The LA Clippers beat the Mavericks 116-111 in Dallas, evening up the series at 2-2 and regaining home court advantage. Without Kawhi, Paul George and James Harden carried the Clippers to a tough win. Check out our summary below:


The Clippers came out with purpose to start the game: Their halftime lead was mostly thanks to a 39 point first quarter, which was led by Paul George’s 16 points on 6/9 shooting (3/5 from three). He would finish the half with 26 points on 9/14 shooting (6/9 from three). Harden also got off to a hot start, adding 18 points on 6/8 shooting (4/4) from three. But what was once a 31 point lead was down to just 17 at the half, as Kyrie Irving went on a run to end the second quarter.

The lead continued to wane throughout the third quarter. The Mavericks played with more intensity, especially on defense, which led to the Clippers scoring just 16 in the frame. The Dallas offense was, again, led by Kyrie, who had 10 points in the third quarter, whereas PG and Harden combined for just two.

The Clippers, who went into the fourth quarter up by just four, showed some level of resistance, pushing their lead to 11 by the eight minute mark. Interestingly, it was Powell and Plumlee who did the damage; in fact, Plumlee had a team high +12 plus-minus in his 14 minutes. Of course, that does not mean he was the Clippers’ best player, but I do think he added a different dynamic, which was needed as the Clippers’ offense was mostly stale in the second half.

But the Clippers could not avoid a dramatic ending. The Clippers’ 11 point lead was gone within three basketball minutes and the game was tied at 98 with five minutes remaining. Then, the game basically became a Harden versus Kyrie showdown: Harden scored 13 of the Clippers’ final 18 points with floater over floater (and a few free throws), while Kyrie had 11 of the Mavs’ final 13. Paul George was the only other Clipper to score in the final five minutes, making two free throws and probably hitting the shot of the night—a contested three, deep in the corner, as the shot clock expired to put the Clippers up two with two minutes left.

Much like Game 1, the Clippers came out hot and moved the ball well, only to give all the momentum back to Dallas as the game went on. But, like then, the Clippers were able to close it out. Maybe the mid-day games are not so bad after all? Either way, it’s 2-2, heading back to LA.


Vintage Harden: In our preview, we highlighted Harden’s play but today was another level: 33 points on 12/17 shooting, seven assists, a steal and a block in 40 minutes. Interestingly, he only shot one three in the second half (which he missed). Instead, as noted, he started getting down hill and punishing the Mavericks for playing without a rim protector.

The Paul George Experience: After scoring just seven points in Game 3, Paul George went nuclear to start this game. But, in the second half, he only took five shots—of which he hit two—despite playing the full 24 minutes. He was also 2/5 from the free throw line in the second half, which made the end of this game just that much more dramatic. He will get a pass because he was largely responsible for the Clippers’ lead and he hit a huge shot in the clutch, but the Clippers need to figure out how to counter the Mavs’ second half defensive adjustments and get PG catching the ball in scoring positions.

The Luka Experience: Luka has likewise had an interesting series so far. He is getting his points, but he is shooting just 37.7% from the field and 30% from three. Those splits are down from 48% and 38% during the regular season. The Clippers have played Luka so much that it is possible the Clippers have the coverages down enough to limit Luka. But it also looks like Luka is hurt. He was listed as Questionable before this game, and he was pulled at moments in the fourth, presumably for offense/defense substitutions (he did play 45 minutes, though). Moreover, Luka was deferring to Kyrie a lot down the stretch. This might be something to watch as the series goes on.

That does it for our Game 4 recap. The Clippers’ did well to even the series at 2-2, but the puzzle clearly has not been solved. They will likely have to win in a different way on Wednesday in LA.

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