A possible Clippers comeback victory was so tantalizingly shut Tuesday night time, an deliberately missed free throw shut, a fumbled rebound shut.
However in the long run, shut wasn’t ok for the Clippers, a 103-101 loss to the Dallas Mavericks leaving the workforce in agony due to how shut it got here to occurring. The workforce had rallied from 25 factors right down to take the lead within the fourth quarter, solely to fall quick.
“That’s what we’ve been about the last three years,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue mentioned of his workforce competing and coming again in video games. “We didn’t start the game particularly well offensively or defensively and got behind. And when you get behind by that many points, it’s hard to try to catch up and then you get exhausted.”
Nicolas Batum had been the person of the hour for the Clippers, flattening three-pointer after three-pointer, going seven for seven from lengthy distance to change into the one participant in franchise historical past to complete a recreation excellent from past the three-point arc with that many makes an attempt.
Batum stepped to the free-throw line for 2 photographs with 4.2 seconds left and the Clippers down 103-100.
He made the primary free throw however missed the second on function.
Lue mentioned he needed to run the Clippers’ “X free-throw” play, which turned out to be Batum lacking the free throw to the correct aspect of the rim.
The basketball bounced and ended up within the fingers of Clippers ahead Robert Covington. However as he tried to get possession of the ball, he misplaced it out of bounds.
“I was fouled on that play,” Covington mentioned. “Simple as that.”
And that was it for the Clippers.
They had been left shaking their heads on the off-balance shot Mavericks star Luka Doncic made because the 24-second clock was operating out late within the fourth quarter. Doncic had stored the ball from going out of bounds and threw up a 29-foot three-pointer, the ball setting into the web for a 102-98 Dallas lead with 27.6 seconds remaining.
That shot gave Doncic 35 factors to go together with 11 rebounds.
It was basically the backbreaker for the Clippers, who really took a five-point lead within the fourth quarter after falling behind by 25 late within the first half.
“To come back and take the lead against a good team like this just talks about our character and what we’re trying to build here,” Lue mentioned. “So, like I said, they got the victory, but we kept competing. So, I like to see that.”
Already with out Kawhi Leonard but once more due to his proper knee administration, the Clippers misplaced beginning guard Luke Kennard due to a strained proper calf.
Kennard was referred to as for a foul early within the first quarter and in discomfort, limping again to the Clippers’ bench with about 9 minutes left. He finally untucked his jersey and walked again to the locker room.
The Clippers obtained again reserve level guard John Wall, who missed the workforce’s 122-106 win Monday night time in Houston for left knee administration, however issues nonetheless obtained worse for the Clippers after Kennard was injured.
Wall was sturdy off the bench, ending with 17 factors, six rebounds and 4 assists. Paul George tried simply 4 photographs within the first half, making two, and it was not almost sufficient for a Clippers workforce in want of offense.
George confronted double groups all recreation, the Mavericks (8-5) limiting him to 13 makes an attempt from the sector. He hit seven of these and completed with 23 factors, seven rebounds and 6 assists.
The Clippers (8-7) fell right into a 15-point gap within the first quarter that grew right into a 54-29 deficit late within the second quarter, forcing them to attempt to play catch-up. The Clippers shot simply 34.4% from the sector within the first half and turned the ball over 12 occasions.
They outscored the Mavericks 33-15 within the third quarter to get again into the sport.
“I would love to win it tonight,” mentioned Batum, who had 22 factors. “But you can’t put yourself in that position. I know it’s against a good team with a great player. It can be tough on the road to try to produce a win. We almost did it. Almost pulled it out. But we gotta get a better start. You need to [do] a better job than [that] and don’t be down 25 on the road.”