Be careful what you wish for.
The LA Clippers finished with the No.4 seed, drawing the Dallas Mavericks in the first round and now after two games they find themselves in an 0-2 hole after dropping both games on their home floor.
Luka Doncic was at his offensive best, pouring in 39 points, while Tim Hardaway Jr. added 28 and Kristaps Porzingis 20 as the Mavericks secured a 127-121 victory and now return home in control of the series.
Here are the key takeaways at the buzzer.
1. Luka Magic
The first few days of the post-season has seen the NBA's next generation make their mark, but no one is doing it better than Luka Doncic.
Doncic followed up his Game 1 31-point triple-double with 39 points on 16-of-29 shooting, adding seven rebounds, and seven assists.
"The mentality was [to] go out there and play aggressive and have fun. That's it," Doncic said. And he did just that.
Dončić is also the 5th player to have 70+ pts, 17+ reb and 18+ ast in the first 2 games of a playoff series.- Mavs PR (@MavsPR) May 26, 2021
Oscar Robertson, 1962-63 vs. SYR
Michael Jordan. 1989-90 vs. MIL
Russell Westbrook, 2016-18 vs. HOU
LeBron James, 2017-18 at GSW
*Luka Dončić, 2020-21 at LAC
The 22-year-old poured in 23 of his 39 in the first half and despite seeing more defensive attention from Kawhi Leonard and Paul George tonight, Doncic still got to his spots, toying with the Clippers defenders with a combination of fadeaways, triples and drives to the rim.
Fade to the left off one leg for three.- NBA (@NBA) May 26, 2021
Luka has 35 through 3Q on @NBATV 🤯 pic.twitter.com/68oqwzyB0Q
2. Hardaway Jr. shuts it down
As the Clippers zeroed in on Doncic down the stretch, Tim Hardaway Jr. didn't shy away from the big shots, putting the nail in the coffin down the stretch.
The Clippers pulled to within four points with just over a minute remaining before Hardaway buried his sixth 3-pointer of the game to put the result beyond doubt.
Tim Hardway Jr. with a HUGE triple ❄️ pic.twitter.com/cOTmg9EU2Z- NBA TV (@NBATV) May 26, 2021
Josh Richardson scored all of his nine points in the fourth quarter, while Porzingis chipped in seven of his 20 in the final frame.
3. Mavs in control
The Mavericks return home for Games 3 and 4 of the first-round series in a commanding position. In NBA playoff history, teams that take a 2-0 series lead in a best-of-seven series have gone on to win 93.7 percent of the time. (254-17).
That number for road teams who have won the first two games is 87 percent (27-of-31).
The Mavericks are the 32nd team in NBA history to win the first 2 games of a best-of-7 series on the road.- ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 26, 2021
27 of the previous 31 went on to win the series. pic.twitter.com/zKDdSREHNE
4. Buckets, buckets, buckets
Whether it was a lack of defence, or just a supreme level of shot-making, the first half of this game was an all-out offensive onslaught as the Mavericks raced out to a 71-63 lead.
Dallas connected on 29-of-43 from the field (67 percent) to the Clippers' 27-of-43 (63 percent) as DOncic (23 points) and Leonard (30 points) both set playoff career-highs in the half.
5. Kawhi finds offensive touch
Sensing the urgency of the contest, Leonard started the game with a bang, scoring 18 points in the first quarter alone on his way to 41 points.
Leonard is the first Clippers player to score 30 points in a playoff half since the franchise moved to California in 1978-79, per ESPN Stats & Info.
📊 30 PTS / 10-14 FG / 3-4 3FG- LA Clippers (@LAClippers) May 26, 2021
A playoff career high for points in a half for @kawhileonard. pic.twitter.com/17aCCKBP1x
He finished with 41 points on an efficient 14-of-21 from the field, adding six rebounds, and four assists, while Paul George had 28 points, 12 rebounds, and six assists. Reggie Jackson was the only other Clippers player in double figures with 15 points.
Paul George was in an attacking mood tonight, throwing down dunk after dunk in Game 2.
Break out and throw down.- LA Clippers (@LAClippers) May 26, 2021
📺 @BallySportWest |📱 https://t.co/SxvCDP1Us0 pic.twitter.com/IpxWDkoL3Z
.@Yg_Trece throws it down.- LA Clippers (@LAClippers) May 26, 2021
Mom and Dad approve. pic.twitter.com/sEeswJqqy7
Goodness gracious, @Yg_Trece. pic.twitter.com/YwUvCYkf7D- LA Clippers (@LAClippers) May 26, 2021
Stars in the building
Game 2 brought out the stars in LA, with Dallas Mavericks' championship-winning legend Dirk Nowitzki watching his former team go to work, while Super Bowl champ Patrick Mahomes was also in the house, dapping up Doncic after his performance.
Makin' the rounds- Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) May 26, 2021
🤝 @swish41 #ALLIN pic.twitter.com/CzUqerIp83
The Clippers will look to bounce back in Game 3 at AmericanAirlines Arena in Dallas on Saturday, May 29 at 7:00 a.m. IST.
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