Clippers draw first blood on Mavericks to go up 1-0 in their Western Conference series

The Los Angeles Clippers take Game 1 to go up 1-0 against Luka Doncic and the Mavericks (Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

The Los Angeles Clippers capitalized on their home-court advantage to run away with a convincing Game 1 victory over the Dallas Mavericks, 109-97, in their NBA Playoffs first-round matchup series on April 22, 2024.

It was a wire-to-wire victory for the Clippers after taking control of the lead from the get-go until the final buzzer sounded.

After a 34-point production in the opening quarter that extended their cushion to 12 points, the Clippers put on a classic defensive masterclass that limited the Mavericks to just eight points in the second frame and bagged a 26-point advantage after the first half.

Despite outscoring the Clippers 34-31 in the third quarter that trimmed their deficit to 23 points, the sizable lead established by Los Angeles proved to be too much as time wasn’t on their side when they attempted to claw their way back in the final canto.

The Clippers hosted its biggest lead to as much as 29 points in the third quarter after the trio of James Harden, Paul George, and Ivica Zubac did damage with their superb scoring.

Harden was terrific during his first playoff game for the Clippers and stuffed the stat sheets with 28 points, eight assists, two rebounds, and two blocks.

Meanwhile, George, who kicked off Game 1 with a slow pace, picked up his rhythm in the second half to end the win with 22 points, six rebounds, three dimes, and a steal.

Zubac also brought the much-needed energy to the Clippers after owning the shaded lane, putting up 20 points built from an efficient 10/17 shooting from the field and 15 rebounds.

On the other hand, Dallas had a 64-point combined output from their two biggest stars, Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving, but needed more help from their supporting cast after PJ Washington was the only Dallas member aside from the two to reach double digits in scoring.

The Clippers will look to protect its home court again and take a 2-0 playoff series advantage over the Mavericks on April 24, 2024, in Game 2 of their Western Conference showdown.