After a fierce seven game series, the Los Angeles Clippers overcame the Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs. The fourth-seed Clippers are now facing the first-seed Utah Jazz in the Western Conference Semifinals.
In the first round, Kawhi Leonard carried a lot of the weight required to survive Luka Dončić and the Mavericks’ powerful offense. The Mavericks started the series off with back-to-back road wins at the Staples Center, taking a two game lead. The Clippers showed no signs of slowing down and fought their way back into the series by winning games three and four in Dallas.
The Mavs won game five by a small margin of victory, but Leonard had a spectacular performance in game six to clinch the win and force a seven game series. Leonard scored 45 points, 29 of which came in the second half, and shot 18 of 25 during the game six matchup. He also tallied six rebounds, three assists and shot five for nine from three point range.
Luka Dončić played superb basketball in game seven, but still fell short to the Clippers. Dončić had 46 points and 14 assists, becoming the second player to ever record 45+ points and 10+ assists in a game seven. His 46 points also mark the third highest-scoring game seven in NBA history. Dončić averaged 35.7 points, 10.3 assists, 7.9 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game in the series and finished the seven games with 250 points, 72 assists and 55 rebounds.
The Clippers were electric from three point range scoring a team total of 20 three-pointers in the final game of the series, setting an NBA Playoffs game seven record. The Clippers were the league’s most efficient three-point shooting team in the regular season.
Marcus Morris undoubtedly had his best game of the series during game seven, where he tied his career record of seven three pointers and finished with 23 points.
The series was filled with high percentage shots beyond the arc. In the first three games, the Mavericks converted 55 of 109 three point attempts (50.46%).
It is no surprise that Kawhi Leonard is a stellar performer in the playoffs. He regularly sinks legendary shots in clutch moments to help advance his team to the next series. In 2019, when Kawhi was playing for the Toronto Raptors, he splashed the first-ever game seven buzzer beater in NBA Playoffs history.
Kawhi Leonard became the fourth player in NBA history to score at least 200 points and shoot at least 60% from the field in a single series. The last player to have a series of that caliber was Shaquille O’Neal on the 2000 Los Angeles Lakers.
Leonard averaged 32.1 points, 4.6 assists and 7.9 rebounds in the seven game series.
The Clippers lost game one against the Utah Jazz in the Western Conference Semifinals on June 8th, 2021. Donovan Mitchell dominated the game scoring 45 points.