Tim Hardaway Jr. and Kristaps Porzingis rescued a tiring Luka Doncic with consecutive 3-pointers inside the final three minutes Wednesday night and the visiting Dallas Mavericks survived a frantic Los Angeles Clippers rally for a 105-100 victory and a 3-2 lead in their Western Conference first-round playoff series.
Doncic finished with a game-high 42 points, helping the Mavericks record the series’ fifth consecutive victory by the road team.
Game 6 in the best-of-seven is scheduled for Friday night in Dallas.
Returning to the site of their surprising wins in Games 1 and 2 of the series, the fifth-seeded Mavericks led most of the way, including by as many as 16 points early in the fourth quarter.
But with Doncic running out of gas, the Mavericks managed just four points over nearly a nine-minute span of the fourth period, allowing the fourth-seeded Clippers to climb within 95-91.
That’s when Hardaway bombed in a 28-footer to extend the margin to seven with 2:50 to go and Porzingis connected from 24 feet to make it a 10-point game 37 seconds later.
The Clippers weren’t done, however. Reggie Jackson and Marcus Morris Sr. hit 3-pointers in a 9-0 flurry that closed the gap to 101-100 with still 39.5 seconds left. And when Terance Mann stole a Doncic pass, Los Angeles had a chance to take the lead.
But Nicolas Batum couldn’t connect on a driving layup and subsequent tip-in attempt with just under 10 seconds remaining. Kawhi Leonard misfired on a potential game-tying 3-pointer with 4.9 seconds left, allowing the Mavericks, who got four late free throws from Hardaway and Josh Richardson, to hold on.
Doncic, who had 27 of his 42 points in the first half, finished 17-for-37 overall and 6-for-12 on 3-pointers. He also found time for a game-high 14 assists and a team-high eight rebounds.
Hardaway was the only other Maverick to score in double figures with 20 points.
Paul George had a team-high 23 points, while Leonard and Jackson chipped in with 20 apiece in a balanced Clippers attack. George completed a double-double with 10 rebounds.
Morris added 16 points and Batum 10 for the Clippers, while Ivica Zubac led the hosts in rebounds with 11.
–Field Level Media