The Los Angeles Clippers, led by Kawhi Leonard's stellar performance, continued their remarkable run in the NBA by securing a 120-111 victory over the Dallas Mavericks. This win not only extends their streak but also marks a significant turnaround since their last encounter with Dallas.
Leonard and Company Shine in Dallas
Kawhi Leonard was the star of the night, scoring 30 points and playing a pivotal role in the Clippers' success. The team, which held on to their lead despite a strong comeback attempt by the Mavericks, has now won nine consecutive games.
This streak ties for the league high this season and is the franchise's longest since the 2015-16 season. With Paul George sidelined due to illness, Norman Powell stepped up, scoring 21 points off the bench. James Harden also made a significant contribution with 17 points and 11 assists.
The Clippers have shown remarkable improvement since their last visit to Dallas, especially after acquiring Harden in a trade with Philadelphia. They have gone 14-3 since their previous six-game losing streak.
“It’s going to take time for them to find the rhythm, find the continuity, find the chemistry,” said Powell, acknowledging the challenges of integrating new players like Harden into the system.
Mavericks' Rally Falls Short
On the Mavericks' side, star player Luka Doncic ended his franchise record of 11 consecutive games with at least 30 points, scoring 28 points along with a triple-double. Dallas struggled without All-Star guard Kyrie Irving, sidelined with a bruised right heel, marking their sixth game without him.
The Mavericks showed resilience, rallying from a 22-point deficit in the second quarter. Tim Hardaway Jr. and Derrick Jones Jr. contributed significantly with 21 and 19 points, respectively. An unusual sequence at the end of the first half saw Hardaway Jr.
hitting two crucial three-pointers, bringing Dallas within 11 points at halftime. Dallas coach Jason Kidd reflected on the team's effort, saying, “When you’re short-handed, you’ve got to make shots. We started to make shots there at the end of the second”.