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NBA playoffs: Kyrie Irving takes over to lead Mavericks past Clippers into 2nd-round matchup vs. Thunder

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NBA playoffs: Kyrie Irving takes over to lead Mavericks past Clippers into 2nd-round matchup vs. Thunder


The first half belonged to Luka Dončić. Kyrie Irving took over in the second.

It added up to a 114-101 Game 6 win for the Dallas Mavericks over the Los Angeles Clippers Friday to secure a 4-2 series win to advance to the second round of the playoffs. The fifth-seeded Mavericks move on to a second-round matchup with the top-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder. The Clippers’ season comes to a disappointing end.

Coming off a 123-93 blowout loss at home in Game 5, the Clippers fell into a 34-26 first quarter hole on Friday. They battled back to tie the game at 52-52 before halftime while limiting Irving to two first-half points. That run marked their last stand of the series.

The Mavericks blew the game open after halftime as Irving led a 35-20 third quarter-surge with 13 points in the stanza. There was no fourth-quarter rally for the Clippers, whose playmakers failed to match the dynamic Dallas duo.

After shooting 1 of 6 in the first half, Irving hit 5 of 6 shots in the third quarter. A personal 5-0 Irving run featuring a floater in traffic and a second-chance 3 extended Dallas’ lead to a then game-high 15 points in the final minute of the quarter.

An and-1 Irving 3-pointer in the fourth extended the Dallas lead to 106-82, extinguishing any lingering hope of a Clippers comeback.

Irving finished with a game-high 30 points after scoring two in the first half. He added six rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocks. He shot 11 of 19 from the field and 5 of 9 from 3.

Dončić tallied 28 points, 13 assists and seven rebounds. On a night where he struggled from the field (9 of 26, 1 of 10 from 3), he ceded the scoring spotlight to Irving in the second half.

Kyrie Irving and the Maverick's broke Friday's Game 6 open in the second half. (Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)Kyrie Irving and the Maverick's broke Friday's Game 6 open in the second half. (Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

Kyrie Irving and the Maverick’s broke Friday’s Game 6 open in the second half. (Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

Familiar postseason story for Clippers

With Kawhi Leonard sidelined and Paul George and James Harden both struggling from the field, Los Angeles didn’t have the firepower to compete. Norman Powell led the Clippers in scoring with 20 points off the bench.

George tallied 18 points, 11 rebounds and five assists. He shot 6 of 18 from the field and hit just 2 of 10 3-point attempts. Harden posted 16 points, 13 assists and seven rebounds. He shot 5 of 16 from the floor and missed all six of his 3-point attempts. Russell Westbrook scored six points in nine minutes off the bench.

Leonard missed four of the series’ six games with knee inflammation. He’s now played in four of the Clippers’ last 19 playoff games.

The Mavericks outshot the Clippers from the floor (48.2% to 41.5%) and from 3-point distance (33.3% to 25.8%) on a night when Dončić struggled with his shot.

The Mavericks now have three days off to prepare for Tuesday’s Game 1 against the Thunder. They’ll await the status of backup forward Maxi Kleber, who sprained his right shoulder on a hard fall in the second quarter and didn’t return.

The Clippers move on to another offseason of questions surrounding an All-Star-studded roster that’s failed to compete for a championship and exited in the first round of the playoffs for a second straight season.





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