Kyrie Irving’s Incredible Second Half Carried The Mavs To A Series Win Over The Clippers

The Dallas Mavericks are moving on to the Western Conference Semifinals. Dallas played host to the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night with an opportunity to end their first round series in their own building, and while things were tied up at the half, the Mavs rode a scorching hot second half from Kyrie Irving to a 114-101 win.

Luka Doncic came out in the first quarter and looked like he really did not want to go back to Los Angeles. Doncic, despite only shooting 4-for-11 from the field in the opening frame, led all scorers with 14 points and chipped in four assists, showing off the big game chops that have come to define him as a player.

While Paul George was able to answer with 10 for the Clippers in the opening quarter, the team generally struggled to score, going 7-for-19 from the field. That, mixed with a 7-0 Mavs run at the end of the quarter, meant Dallas held onto a 34-26 lead after one.

The Mavs did seem like they had a good handle on things in the second quarter, even amid a rough shooting half. And then, their offense went ice cold, while the Clippers were able to go on a run. In all, Los Angeles went on a 15-2 spurt that let them tie things up at 48 each, and after both teams traded baskets at the end of the quarter, things were all tied up at 52 at the break.

While Doncic had 18 points, he did not make any of his seven attempts from three and he went 5-for-15 from the field. PJ Washington pitched in 11, while Irving was ice cold, going for two points on 1-for-6 shooting. The Clippers were led by 14 points and six boards from George, an 11-point and 9-rebound half from Ivica Zubac, and 10 bench points from Norman Powell.

But out of the locker room, the Mavericks came alive. After looking sluggish for lengthy stretches in the second quarter, the team looked far more locked in during the third. Irving got going, as he went for 13 points in the period, which seemed to inject some much-needed life into his teammates and the crowd as Dallas opened up an 87-72 lead.

It started to get late early for Los Angeles, which fell into a 20-point hole early on in the fourth. And with 5:38, it seemed like the knockout blow came when Irving pulled up from three in the corner, got fouled, made it, and sent the crowd into a frenzy to put the Mavericks up by 24. (As an added bonus, watch Doncic’s reaction to this one.)

While the Clippers were able to get the lead down to 12, both the benches were eventually emptied to see out the end of the game. Irving had 28 of his 30 points in the second half, and pitched in six rebounds, four assists, two steals, and two blocks. Doncic, meanwhile, had a double-double with 28 points and 13 assists. Powell led Los Angeles in scoring by going for 20 points off the bench, while George (18 points and 11 rebounds), Zubac (17 points and 11 rebounds), and Harden (16 points and 13 rebounds) all put up double-doubles.

Los Angeles will now head into an offseason with plenty of questions, as both Harden and George have not signed contract extensions and Kawhi Leonard’s health is as big of a concern as ever. Dallas, meanwhile, is on its way to the next round of the postseason, and will take on the 1-seed Oklahoma City Thunder.