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    Clippers’ season ends with Game 6 loss to Mavericks
    • May 4, 2024

    By SCHUYLER DIXON AP Sports Writer

    DALLAS — On a night when the Clippers were again playing without one of their stars, they needed more from the healthy ones in order to extend their season.

    As it turned out, they didn’t get enough from either one.

    Luka Doncic had 28 points and 13 assists, Kyrie Irving scored 28 of his 30 points in a second-half surge while Paul George and James Harden endured a poor shooting night as the Dallas Mavericks advanced to the second round of the playoffs with a 114-101 victory over the Clippers on Friday night.

    Doncic pushed through another rough shooting night with his ailing right knee to do what the Slovenian superstar couldn’t three years earlier – close out the Clippers in Dallas in Game 6 of a first-round series.

    The fifth-seeded Mavericks beat the fourth-seeded Clippers for the the first time in three first-round tries over the past five seasons and will open the Western Conference semifinals at the top seed, Oklahoma City, on Tuesday night.

    George had 18 points on 6-for-18 shooting to go with 11 rebounds for the Clippers, who won the first two times they played without Kawhi Leonard in the series but didn’t have enough scoring punch in the last two he was sidelined by right knee inflammation.

    Harden had 16 points and 13 assists but was just 5 of 16 from the field and missed all six of his 3-point attempts as the Clippers were eliminated in the first round for the second consecutive season. George and Harden combined to shoot 2 for 16 from behind the arc.

    Irving, Doncic’s co-star added at the trade deadline last year for the kind of playoff run the Mavs hope they just started, gave Dallas its biggest lead with a flashy four-point play when he hit a leaning 3-pointer as he was bumped by P.J. Tucker and made the free throw for a 106-82 lead.

    The Clippers answered with an 11-2 run to get within 13 but never seriously threatened a big comeback in the final minutes.

    The Mavs broke a 52-52 halftime tie by outscoring the Clippers 35-20 in the third quarter – the same quarter that fueled the Game 5 win in Los Angeles for a chance to clinch – and pushed the lead to 20 early in the fourth.

    Doncic, who also has dealt with illness in addition to a sore knee, started 0 for 7 from 3-point range to drop below 25% for the series but made his first try of the second half to start the third-quarter surge.

    The NBA scoring champion was 9 for 26 from the field and just 1 for 10 from long range while going 9 for 11 on free throws. Irving was 10 for 13 from the field after halftime.

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    Norman Powell scored 20 for the Clippers, and Ivica Zubac had 17 points and 11 rebounds.

    P.J. Washington scored 14 points with some big 3-pointers for the Mavs, going 4 for 8 from deep, and Daniel Gafford had 13 points with several emphatic buckets down low.

    Dallas’ Maxi Kleber didn’t return after spraining his right shoulder when he took a hard fall on a blocking foul against Amir Coffey on a drive in the first minute of the second quarter.

    Kleber, whose 3-point shooting was a boost for Dallas in the series, returned to shoot free throws, making one of two before leaving at the next dead ball.

    More to come on this story.

    ​ Orange County Register