Kawhi Leonard leads Clippers past Mavericks to even series
Kawhi Leonard had 29 points and 10 rebounds to help the Los Angeles Clippers even their Western Conference first-round playoff series against the host Dallas Mavericks with a 106-81 win in Game 4 on Sunday night.
Paul George added 20 points and nine rebounds for the Clippers, who lost the first two games of the series in Los Angeles before bouncing back to win the next two on the road.
Reggie Jackson scored 15 points and Nicolas Batum, who replaced Ivica Zubac in the starting lineup, contributed 10 points for the Clippers, who host Game 5 on Wednesday night.
Luka Doncic came in averaging 38 points and 8.7 rebounds through the first three games of the series, but has been bothered by a cervical strain on his left side and was limited to 19 points, six rebounds and six assists. He made just 9 of 24 shots from the field, including 1-for-7 from 3-point range.
Kristaps Porzingis contributed 18 points, but the remaining Dallas starters beyond him and Doncic combined for 12 points on 4-for-20 shooting.
As a team, the Mavericks shot 5-for30 from 3-point range, a single-game season-low 16.7 percent, after averaging 18.3 baskets and shooting 50.5 percent from 3-point distance through the first three games of the series.
Leonard made his first eight shots en route to scoring 36 points in Game 3 on Friday, and he made his first six shots on Sunday.
Kawhi's efficient double-double leads the @LAClippers to their 2nd straight win in Dallas, tying the series at 2-2. Game 5 is Wed. at 10pm/et on TNT.
29p | 10r | 2s | 2b | 11-15 shooting pic.twitter.com/yFOtnlEAIo
— NBA (@NBA) May 31, 2021
The Mavericks’ only surge came when 7-foot-4 center Boban Marjanovic made his first appearance of the series midway through the first quarter and scored four of his 12 points, but the Mavericks never regained the lead.
Dallas missed its first seven 3-point attempts before Jalen Brunson hit one at the first-quarter buzzer to cut the lead to 31-22.
The Clippers went on an 11-0 run in the second quarter to take a 45-27 lead, and led by as many as 19 in the second quarter, the same lead the Mavericks had in the first half of Game 3 before losing by 10 points.
The Clippers eventually took a 61-45 lead into the half, and then scored the first eight points of the second half to move ahead 69-45.
Los Angeles expanded the lead to as much as 28 in the third quarter before taking an 82-60 lead into the fourth.
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