Mavs could battle Clippers in Game 4 without Doncic


Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said he has no idea whether an ankle injury will keep All-Star guard Luke Doncic out of Game 4 of their Western Conference first-round series against the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday in the NBA bubble in Orlando.

“On Sunday, the game is early, which doesn’t help things but we’ll see,” Carlisle said. “We’ve got every advanced treatment modality that you can have, as every team here does. We’ll see how this responds in the next 36 hours.”

The Mavericks listed Doncic as questionable for Game 4.

With Doncic sidelined for much of the fourth quarter, the Clippers recorded a 130-122 victory Friday to take a 2-1 edge in the best-of-seven series. Kawhi Leonard had 36 points, nine rebounds and eight assists for the Clippers, who bounced back from their Game 2 setback. Landry Shamet added 18 points as seven Clippers reached double figures.

Ivica Zubac had 15 points and six boards and Marcus Morris Sr. had 14 points, converting 4-of-5 attempts from 3-point range and adding eight rebounds for the Clippers, who have won five of six against the Mavericks this season. Montrezl Harrell scored 13 points.

Clippers forward Paul George struggled again offensively, managing 11 points on 3-of-16 shooting and 1-of-8 on 3-pointers. George, who collected nine boards and seven assists, is 7 of 33 from the floor in the past two games.

“I can guarantee you this: he’s not forgotten how to shoot,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said.

Kristaps Porzingis finished with 34 points and 13 rebounds, and Seth Curry and Tim Hardaway Jr. contributed 22 points apiece for Dallas. Curry hit 9-of-11 field goals, including all four attempts from long distance.

The contest got testy a couple of times in the first half. Doncic and Harrell drew technicals after getting tangled up and exchanging words. Rivers believed it was a good thing for his club.

“I just like we didn’t get distracted,” Rivers said. “I thought defensively, we were very physical without fouling, which is key, and then it got chippy a little bit. We just stayed the same; we didn’t change. It’s a good sign. Teams are going to test us.”

Doncic sprained his left ankle late in the third quarter and returned before taking himself out early in the fourth. He finished with 13 points on 4-of-10 shooting and added 10 rebounds and 10 assists in 29 minutes.

He was scheduled to have an MRI exam on Saturday.

“He was not moving well and there was a gesture that this wasn’t working out,” Carlisle said of Doncic. “To my knowledge, there was no progression of the injury or anything like that. He just couldn’t play this game.”

The Clippers took command in the first half, taking a 68-54 edge at the break with a franchise-record 45 points in the second quarter to 31 for Dallas.

The Mavericks stayed within striking distance in the fourth quarter but couldn’t mount a serious charge down the stretch.

Clippers guard Patrick Beverley missed his second straight game with a strained calf. He is listed as day-to-day.

–Field Level Media

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