Kawhi Leonard, Paul George Dominant as Clippers Win Game 5 vs. Mavericks

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistAugust 26, 2020

Dallas Mavericks' Tim Hardaway Jr. (11) covers Los Angeles Clippers' Paul George (13) during the first half of an NBA basketball first round playoff game Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis, Pool)
Ashley Landis/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Clippers regained control of their first-round series with a 154-111 win over the Dallas Mavericks Tuesday.

Paul George broke out of his slump with 35 points on just 18 shots while Kawhi Leonard was his usual deadly self in the Game 5 victory, helping the Clippers set a franchise record for points in a playoff game while giving the No. 2 seed a 3-2 advantage in the best-of-seven series.

Los Angeles unstoppable offensively to build a 20-point lead early in the first half before going up more than 30 in the third quarter. After blowing a major lead in Game 4, the squad held on this time around to put Dallas on the brink of elimination.

Luka Doncic scored 22 but the Mavericks couldn't overcome the loss of Kristaps Porzingis, who remains out with a sore knee.

The blowout also featured plenty of confrontation from the two sides, with six combined technical and flagrant fouls and Dallas coach Rick Carlisle ejected in the quarter.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Rick Carlisle was tossed after picking up his second technical 👀 He was upset about the Clippers getting a challenge right before Hardaway's FT https://t.co/rcP0h7AF5T

It could provide plenty of drama for the final game or two of this series.


Notable Performances

Kawhi Leonard, SF, LAC: 32 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists

Paul George, SG, LAC: 35 points, 12-of-18 from the fieldd

Montrezl Harrell, PF, LAC: 19 points, 11 rebounds

Luka Doncic, SG, DAL: 22 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists

Tim Hardaway Jr., SG, DAL: 19 points, 3 assists

Maxi Kleber, PF, DAL: 12 points, 4 rebounds, 2 blocks


Paul George Wakes Up, Leads Offensive Explosion

The start of the postseason was not kind to Paul George, who shot just 29 percent from the field in the first four games. After averaging 21.5 points per game during the season, he had just 20 points in the last two games combined while shooting 6-of-30 from the field.

Things changed Tuesday when the All-Star tallied 35 points in just 25 minutes, scoring 18 points in the first half to lead the Clippers to a 24-point lead:


18 for PG on 8-12 shooting at the half! 💦 #NBAPlayoffs on TNT https://t.co/ajQ2PaCIOW

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

PG going off in Game 5 🍿 23 PTS on 10/14 shooting and counting https://t.co/Td8oP93vzV

LA Clippers @LAClippers

Dialed in. @FoxSportsWest | @Yg_Trece https://t.co/t2HlNNVXHt

It helped quiet some doubters after facing a lot of criticism during the week:

#RingerNBA @ringernba

Paul George saw the "Playoff P" jokes

Shane Young @YoungNBA

Paul George has heard enough. The dude remains great

Mike Leslie @MikeLeslieWFAA

Paul George is trying to shut the entire internet up.

Kawhi Leonard also continued to play at a high level and was nearly unstoppable at times on the offensive end:


The @LAClippers end Q1 on a 32-6 run❗️ Kawhi: 15 PTS 📺: @NBAonTNT https://t.co/DDqNaWdXZ0

The duo helped the Clippers dominate from the start of the game, including a 32-6 run in the first quarter to lead by 19 after the first break.

Los Angeles had 76 points by halftime and kept the pedal down by finishing with 154 points on 63.1 percent shooting from the field, going 22-of-35 from three-point range.

The Mavericks have kept pace with the Clippers for much of the series, but George and Leonard both playing to their peak level makes this a tough team to beat.


Luka Doncic Unable to Carry Mavericks on His Back Again

Game 4 saw one of the best individual efforts in a long time as Doncic finished with 47 points, 17 rebounds, 13 assists and a buzzer-beater in overtime. The second-year player couldn't match that in Game 5.

The guard found ways to get himself points despite dealing with an ankle injury:

Dallas Mavericks @dallasmavs

3 defenders? 🤷‍♂️ #MFFL | https://t.co/SG2AjGrk2R https://t.co/cP4o0gK5eH

Dallas Mavericks @dallasmavs

Back-to-back 3s 👌 #MFFL | https://t.co/SG2AjGrk2R https://t.co/jEE2HjY4A4

He still saw extra attention from the Clippers defense from the start of the game, which was more effective with Porzingis still out:

Jovan Buha @jovanbuha

We’re seeing the Clippers trap Luka Doncic near the sidelines, which they hadn’t before in this series. Nice adjustment. We should see that more.

Jovan Buha @jovanbuha

The Clippers have done a much better job of helping on Luka Doncic's drives. He's rarely going solo against someone. There's always another defender there to poke at his dribble or contest.

It led to a lot of visible frustration with Doncic spending a lot of time arguing with the referees, eventually picking up a technical foul:

Carlisle followed it up with his own pair of technicals and an ejection for the head coach.

Dallas had some positive moments, including from Maxi Kleber and Tim Hardaway Jr.:

Dallas Mavericks @dallasmavs

Maxi can throw it down 😤😤 #MFFL | https://t.co/SG2AjGrk2R https://t.co/n3JMC0wEa4

Dallas Mavericks @dallasmavs

THJ can splash 🔥🔥 #MFFL | @T_HardJR https://t.co/JRmRYhAofs

However, it wasn't enough to keep up with a Clippers squad that seemingly couldn't miss. Dallas will either need more production from the supporting cast or a superhuman version of Doncic to turn things around next game.


What's Next?

The Clippers will have a chance to clinch the series in Game 6, scheduled for Thursday at 9 p.m. ET.