After suffering a heartbreaking loss in overtime in Game 4, courtesy of Luka Doncic's buzzer-beating 3, the LA Clippers responded with a dominant performance in Game 5.
Leading by as many as 45 in this one, the Clippers clinched Game 5, 154-111 to take a 3-2 series lead. As many as six players scored in double figures for Los Angeles, led by their All-Star duo of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, who combined for 67.
They trailed early but after the only lead change of the game (17-16) occurred at the 6:41 mark of the first quarter, the Clippers never looked back. From there, they ran away with the game, never letting their foot off the gas pedal - scoring at least 35 points in every quarter.
In the lopsided contest, the Clippers set multiple franchise records. Here's more on that and the other takeaways from this game:
Paul George finds shooting touch
A key storyline heading into this game was the shooting struggles of Paul George. In the first four games of this series, he was averaging 15.3 points per game at 29.0% shooting from the field and 22.2% from beyond the arc.
Well, the 6'9" forward took care of those struggles in this game. He started off hot, scoring 18 in the first half and he continued to make it rain - dropping 17 in the second half.
18 for PG on 8-12 shooting at the half! 💦#NBAPlayoffs on TNT pic.twitter.com/ajQ2PaCIOW- NBA (@NBA) August 26, 2020
He finished the game with 35 points on 12-of-18 (66.7%) shooting from the field, 4-of-8 from 3-point distance, and a perfect 7-of-7 from the free-throw line.
Kawhi sparks Clippers blowout
Unlike PG, Kawhi Leonard had his touch all through this series. He was averaging 33.0 points at 50.0% shooting from the field and he did more of the same in this one.
He finished the game with 32 points, seven rebounds, and four assists on 12-of-19 (63.2%) shooting from the field in 30 minutes of action.
Four straight playoff games with 30+ points for @kawhileonard.- LA Clippers (@LAClippers) August 26, 2020
That matches the longest streak of his career. pic.twitter.com/vOh1CMwezw
More importantly, he did a bulk of his damage in the first quarter when he sparked a huge Clippers run that basically won them the game. Over the final 8:26 of the first quarter, the Clippers went from seven down to leading by 19, courtesy of a 32-6 run.
An emphatic finish. 💪🏾 pic.twitter.com/Ov6HyRSfQS- LA Clippers (@LAClippers) August 26, 2020
Leonard was responsible for 18 of those 32 points. That run meant the Clippers led 41-22 after the first 12 minutes and from then on, they only built on that lead.
Clippers break multiple franchise records
It wasn't just George and Leonard, all Clippers had it going offensively in this one. Marcus Morris Sr. finished with 12 points, Reggie Jackson and Landry Shamet finished with 11 points apiece while Montrezl Harrell recorded a 19-point, 11-rebound double-double in just 23 minutes of action.
Their tally of 154 points is the third-most all-time in NBA playoff history.
The Clippers are the first team in NBA history to score 150+ points on 60+ FG% and 60+ 3P% shooting in a playoff game. pic.twitter.com/SWFpfE7g7D- StatMuse (@statmuse) August 26, 2020
As a result of the dominant win, the team broke multiple franchise records - most points in a playoff game (154), most threes in a playoff game (22), most field goals in a playoff game (53), highest FG% in a playoff game (63.1%), and biggest playoff winning margin (43).
Game 5 was a rough one for Luka Doncic and the Mavericks, who were playing without Kristaps Porzingis.
Coming off one of the greatest performances in NBA playoff history, Doncic managed 22 points, eight rebounds, and four assists in this one. He struggled to knock down shots efficiently (6-17 FGs; 1-6 3P) and committed five of the team's 13 turnovers.
He and the Mavs will have a couple of days to find their groove as they'll suit up in a must-win Game 6 on Friday at 6:30 AM IST.
The views expressed here do not represent those of the NBA or its clubs.