The LA Clippers closed out a tough series against the Dallas Mavericks in Game 6 to win the series.
The Dallas Mavericks made this a better first-round playoff series than anticipated, but were ultimately outmatched by the LA Clippers. Despite the Clippers losing Marcus Morris early in this Game 6 clincher, the loss of Kristaps Porzingis (among other things) stung the Mavs too much for them to keep up.
Dallas, the regular season’s league-leading offense, couldn’t buy a 3 on Sunday, going a putrid 11-of-37 from downtown (29.7 percent). Pair that with its lackluster (at best) defense, and you get a pretty bad result.
Los Angeles Clippers
Here’s what you missed from Clippers-Mavericks Game 6.
Meme-able moment: Marcus Morris’ ejection
It didn’t even take 12 minutes for Marcus Morris to get into another scuffle. Last time these two teams squared off, Morris stepped on Luka Doncic’s ankle in a way that looked intentional. He defended himself online after the game:
As the kids say, that tweet didn’t age well. Late in the first quarter on Sunday, Morris took an egregious hack at Doncic as he was going up for a layup. Doncic was physical towards him on this particular play, but not rough enough to warrant Morris’ retort.
Morris has pulled antics like this before, which likely contributed to the referees’ decision to eject him from Game 6. The Clippers were good enough without him on this day, but it only gets tougher from here. We’ll see if Morris gets suspended for Game 1 of the conference semifinals.
Coaching move: Forcing the ball out of Doncic’s hands
The Clippers aren’t the first team to implement this strategy against the Mavs, but they were one of the few to do so effectively. From double-teaming to getting physical to everything in between (including the meme-able moment), the Clippers did everything to make the playoff newcomer’s life miserable. And without Kristaps Porzingis, the Mavs struggled to create offense elsewhere.
The Slovenian sophomore didn’t go down without a fight though. He found a solution to this scheme midway through the third quarter, and with him doing so, the Mavs offense did as well. They put up quite a fight in the fourth, and Doncic’s 38 points, 9 rebounds and 9 assists were the catalyst.
Unsung hero: Ivica Zubac
Plus-minus isn’t everything, but when it sticks out like Ivica Zubac’s plus-33 did in Game 6, you know it mattered. His energy and acumen worked beautifully, as he poured in 15 points (6-of-8 shooting) and 11 rebounds at timely moments. He picked his spots well, and provided that extra oomph LAC needed everywhere else.
His viability will be crucial in the next series too, as both the Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz feature elite bigs. If he can hold his own in that matchup, the Clippers will be that much closer to the conference finals. And to think the Los Angeles Lakers traded him for 27 games of Mike Muscala.