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Los Angeles (AFP)
The Los Angeles Clippers won on the floor of the Dallas Mavericks Friday 104-97, snatching a seventh game between the two franchises in the first round of the Western Conference play-offs.
The Clippers kept their season alive by winning in front of an almost full hall American Airlines Center in Dallas (18,300 spectators). After three victories for the Mavericks in Los Angeles and now just as many successes for the Clippers in Dallas, this is the first time in NBA history that no team has been able to win a single home game in the first six. matches in a series of play-offs.
The seventh meeting, which will determine the winner of the series, will be held Sunday at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
« I did not want to go home, » said Kawhi Leonard, the great man of the match and fourth basketball player in history – after LeBron James, Wilt Chamberlain and Canadian Jamal Murray – to manage to register 45 points with 70% success in a play-off match where his team was threatened with elimination.
« My teammates found me, I had openings, I put the baskets, and I continued from there, » he said, well helped in his task by Reggie Jackson (25 points) and Paul George (20 points, 13 rebounds).
Luka Doncic was the Mavericks’ best player with 29 points, most of which were scored late in the game, and 11 assists. « (Kawhi) destroyed us. He played a hell of a game, » commented the Slovenian, well assisted by Tim Hardaway (23 pts).
The Mavericks, seeking revenge for a first-round playoff loss to the Clippers last season, fished for lack of precision with barely 29% success in the last quarter and 41% on the match.
Leonard, on the other hand, carried the Clippers at arm’s length by putting 18 of 25 shots in the basket, including five of nine from three points.
The Mavericks, however, remain confident before the last game of the series on Sunday at the Staples Center, where they are this year unbeaten in the play-offs. « We all think we can win Game 7, » Doncic said.
© 2021 AFP