The usually explosive Mavericks’ offensive was ultimately subdued by the Clippers’ powerhouse defense, being especially successful in their efforts to limit Luka’s scoring impact on the game. Doncic (22 pts, 8 rebs, 6 asts) was double-teamed for the duration of the game, and it showed in his results with a meager 4-14 shooting from the field. 8 of his 10 misses were from beyond the three-point arc, which basically tells the whole narrative of that side of the ball for Doncic, as he was suffocated at the perimeter by the Clippers all game long. Down low, Kristaps Porzingis (15 pts, 10 rebs) also struggled mightily from the offensive side, shooting 4-13 himself. Seth Curry (13 pts) and J.J. Barea (12 pts) both got some good bench output with some solid outside shooting. Other than that, the rest of the roster was part of the night’s scoring struggle.
With Luka subdued on one side, the Clippers pretty much cruised throughout. They were led by the team’s superstar duo in Kawhi Leonard (28 pts, 8 rebs, 4 asts) and Paul George (26 pts), who have started to completely solidify the Clippers’ defensive identity now that they’re playing healthy together. Lou Williams (21 pts) also made some noise off the bench.
Dallas simply ran into a team that’s constructed to absolutely muffle a singular shining offensive presence like Luka. Also, unless Porzingis steps up when something like this gameplan affects Doncic to this degree, it’s KP’s responsibility to be opportunistic and cease a game like this while the defensive focus isn’t on him. Overall, while it was a romp that cut into their good looking win streak, it was an ample learning experience for a young team facing such a complete opponent.
FINAL: Los Angeles 114 (13-5), Dallas 99 (11-6)
@ Phoenix Suns (11/29)
It didn’t take long for the Mavericks to bounce back to form offensively, as when they traveled to Phoenix to play the Suns, Luka and company came out in full force. Doncic (42 pts, 9 rebs, 11 asts) ended up tying his career high, and Tim Hardaway Jr. (26 pts) scored in droves with 6 made three-pointers. While most of the team looked solid, Porzingis (2 pts, 13 rebs) struggled yet again, this time shooting an atrocious 0-8 from the field; his only points coming from a pair of free throws. While Doncic has been flourishing, Porzingis has been trudging through the growing pains of new team integration in this early part of the season.