The Los Angeles Clippers improve to 4-0 with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George in the lineup as they cruised to a comfortable 114-99 win over the Dallas Mavericks
Kawhi Leonard paced their offence with 28 points, while Paul George added 26, including a season-high six steals as the Clippers put in a strong defensive effort to stifle the Mavs and halt their five-game win streak.
Here are the key takeaways from today's game:
Clippers put the clamps on
The Mavs entered today's game on a five-game win streak, where they were averaging 129.8 points per contest, behind Luka Doncic's MVP-level play, but the Clippers had other ideas.
Paul George, Kawhi Leonard and co turned up the heat on defence, holding the Mavs to under 100 points for the first time this season as they shot just 38 percent from the field (30-of-79 FG) on the night.
George recorded a season-high six steals, as the Clippers relentlessly turned defence into offence, forcing 20 turnovers.
PG-13 letting the rim know about it! 😳#ClipperNation pic.twitter.com/OglIKCLaV1- NBA TV (@NBATV) November 27, 2019
"That's what we hang our hat on," George said of the team's defence post-game on NBA TV. "We've got guys that love playing defence. We're really starting to get into our groove, really starting to get our chemistry on the defensive end. It's scary, we're clicking right now. We're getting this thing rolling."
PG and Kawhi continue to build chemistry
The George-Leonard partnership continues to get better with each game, with the duo tormenting the Mavs on both ends in today's win.
George took the reigns of the Clipper offence early, exploding for 17 first-quarter points, including four three-pointers as they took a 34-27 lead and they never looked back.
🔥 Paul George drops 17 PTS (4 3PM) in the 1Q! #ClipperNation- NBA (@NBA) November 27, 2019
2Q underway on @NBATV. pic.twitter.com/b6zDwkGyg6
From there Leonard scored 26 of his 28 points across the final three quarters, with Lou Williams coming off the bench with 21 points, six rebounds and six assists, knocking down 4-of-7 from beyond the arc.
"We just want to hoop," George said post-game. "That's the environment that Doc [Rivers] created. That's the environment that they've created all year long, last year. Adding myself and Kawhi to this group, it's the culture they already had and we're just sprinkled into it."
Paul George and Kawhi Leonard have played 4 games together this season. The Clippers are 4-0 in those games, and the pair has increased their combined point total in each game.- ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 27, 2019
Nov. 20: 42 vs Celtics
Nov. 22: 43 vs Rockets
Nov. 24: 44 vs Pelicans
Tuesday: 54 at Mavericks pic.twitter.com/1trbPVSvHP
The Clippers led by as many as 24 points in the second half, before cruising to a 15-point win.
Luka struggles to find range
It was a frustrating night for the 20-year-old star, bringing an end to his franchise-record streak of four straight games with at least 30 points and 10 assists.
Doncic recorded 22 points, eight rebounds, six assists and three steals on the night, but found the going tough against an inspired Clipper defence, shooting 4-of-14 from the field, including 0-of-8 from the three-point line.
Doncic struggled to get separation from the Clippers wing defenders in George, Leonard, Patrick Beverley and Moe Harkless, who forced him into several tough shots from the perimeter. He finished with seven of his teams 20 turnovers on the night.
He did the bulk of his damage at the free-throw line, converting 14-of-16 at the line, with the Clippers' physical interior presence of Montrezl Harrell and Ivica Zubac doing a solid job of denying him clean looks at the rim.
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