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Paul George, James Harden help Clippers hang on beat Mavs 116-111 after blowing 31-point lead

Sun, Apr 28, 2024
NBA News (AP)

Paul George, James Harden help Clippers hang on beat Mavs 116-111 after blowing 31-point lead

DALLAS (AP) - Paul George and James Harden each scored 33 points while playing key fourth-quarter roles to help the Los Angeles Clippers hold on after blowing a 31-point lead and beat the Dallas Mavericks 116-111 on Sunday, evening the first-round series at 2-2.

The Clippers won again without Kawhi Leonard, who missed the series opener with right knee inflammation before playing in the two Dallas victories.

The teams have split a pair on each other's home court in the third Western Conference first-round meeting between them in the past five seasons. Game 5 is Wednesday night in Los Angeles.

Kyrie Irving scored 40 points for Dallas, including an acrobatic layup with 2:15 remaining for a 104-103 lead that was the first for the Mavericks since the middle of the first quarter.

Luka Doncic had 29 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in his fourth career playoff triple-double - all against the Clippers.

George scored 26 points in the first half, when the Clippers' lead reached 55-24 on a 3-pointer by Harden. The high-scoring stars combined to go 11 of 16 from long range as LA finished 18 of 29 overall.

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After Irving's go-ahead layup, George hit his first basket of the second half, a fadeaway 3 from the corner. Irving missed a layup, and Harden converted a three-point play as the 10-time All-Star scored 15 points in the fourth.

The Clippers tied a franchise playoff record for a quarter with eight 3s in the first, and George had three of them while scoring his playoff first-quarter high with 16 points to match the Mavericks and help build a 39-16 lead.

The LA lead reached 55-24 when Harden hit a 3 not long after Doncic was called for a technical foul coming down the court when his miss dropped Dallas to 0-11 from long range.

Irving hit the next two 3s for Dallas, and the rally was on. He scored 16 in the second quarter and kept it going in the third, finishing those two quarters with 26 after a scoreless first. Dallas trailed by four entering the fourth quarter.


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