Luka Doncic Hits Game-Winner, Drops 43-Point Triple-Double as Mavs Top Clippers

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistAugust 23, 2020

Dallas Mavericks' Luka Doncic, left, drives toward the basket as Los Angeles Clippers' Kawhi Leonard defends during the second half of an NBA basketball first round playoff game Sunday, Aug. 23, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis, Pool)
Ashley Landis/Associated Press

Take a bow, Luka Doncic.

The second-year star drilled a buzzer-beating three-pointer while playing on a sprained ankle to lead the Dallas Mavericks to a 135-133 overtime victory over the Los Angeles Clippers in Sunday's Game 4 at Walt Disney World Resort. The series is tied at two games apiece.

Ankle sprain and all, Doncic was brilliant throughout and notched a second straight triple-double while helping lead his team back from a 21-point deficit even without the injured Kristaps Porzingis.

As for the Clippers, Kawhi Leonard and Lou Williams led the way for a side with championship aspirations that finds itself in a tight opening-round battle with Paul George struggling.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

LUKA CALLED GAME. COLD. https://t.co/PzrKgH80yY

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

The Clippers gave up a 21-point lead against the Mavs without Kristaps 😬 https://t.co/EaK8cDiESj

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Clippers trying to guard Luka https://t.co/k6HUgl1UCz


Notable Player Stats

  • Luka Doncic, G, DAL: 43 PTS, 17 REB, 13 AST, 2 STL
  • Trey Burke, G, DAL: 25 PTS, 5 REB, 2 STL, 4-of-5 3PT
  • Tim Hardaway Jr., G, DAL: 21 PTS, 5 REB
  • Kawhi Leonard, F, LAC: 32 PTS, 9 REB, 4 AST, 2 STL
  • Lou Williams, G, LAC: 36 PTS, 5 AST, 4 REB
  • Paul George, F, LAC: 9 PTS, 8 REB, 3 AST, 3-of-14 FG, 1-of-7 3PT


Luka Plays Through Injury, Continues to Dazzle

The Mavs found themselves behind by 21 points in the first half against a deeper team while playing without their best big man and with Doncic at less than 100 percent.

It would have been easy to fold and go through the motions while looking ahead to Game 5, but Luka had other ideas. He busted out a head-turning Euro-step to score over George in the lane, dropped floaters in traffic and demonstrated patience while attacking the defense, all while playing solid defense and battling on the boards on the other end.

He also willingly dished out assists whenever the Clippers collapsed on his penetration, picked George's pocket and even forced L.A. into a zone as he took over the game in the third quarter.

tim cato @tim_cato

Luka, on top of everything else, has been extremely good defensively

Mark Followill @MFollowill

After 198 Mavs playoff games without a triple-double: Luka has one in back to back games now.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Trey Burke took Kawhi one-on-one. Bucket. (via @dallasmavs) https://t.co/U7RM3eGPc2

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Luka hit PG with the euro 🔥 (via @dallasmavs) https://t.co/3hDzCNptqk

Dallas Mavericks @dallasmavs

BANG 🔥🔥🔥 https://t.co/MBfuLa6Suk

It was a brilliant performance against a team with multiple elite defenders and another reminder the 21-year-old is set to dominate the league for seasons to come.

It was far from a solo effort as Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. provided key secondary scoring and additional ball-handlers, while Boban Marjanovic helped Doncic run the pick-and-roll during an extended Dallas run in the second half.

Seth Curry also got in on the action as a key bench piece who could run the offense with Doncic on the sidelines.

Still, the story from Dallas' side was Doncic's continued emergence as an unstoppable force even before he made a three-pointer at the buzzer that could become legendary if his team wins two of the next three games.


Lou Williams, Kawhi Leonard Can't Bail Out Paul George

Without Patrick Beverley, there was even more pressure for George to play well if the Clippers were going to seize control of the series.

He has done anything but play well in this series, shooting 29.3 percent from the field and 23.0 percent from three-point range through the first three games and responding to critics on social media.

George looks nothing like a six-time All-Star going for his first championship and has instead put even more pressure on Leonard to carry the Clippers past a challenging Dallas team. It was more of the same Sunday, as the so-called Playoff P shot 2-of-8 in the first half and didn't rediscover his touch in the second half on the way to a 3-of-14 shooting performance.

Dunk Bait @DunkBait

Playoff P Mode: {ON} OFF https://t.co/hqeXAfHMRA

Tim MacMahon @espn_macmahon

Luka Doncic and Paul George have led a stunning comeback for the Mavs.

SB Nation @SBNation

Paul George's Playoff P Playoff P in real life https://t.co/D5kL4IkVa3

Williams did what he could as a spark off the bench like he so often does and was L.A.'s best player for much of the game.

Leonard also stuffed the stat sheet even though he missed a potential game-winner at the end of regulation, but it is supposed to be a one-two punch of All-Stars leading the Clippers to a championship. Williams was impressive, but the Clippers' ceiling is much lower if George continues to struggle.

The questions around him will be even louder after yet another poor performance on the playoff stage.


What's Next?

Game 5 of the series is Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET.