Oof. It’s got to hurt to be the Dallas Mavericks right now. Even though Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving combined for 64 points, the pair could do nothing but watch as the LA Clippers put on a clinic during the 109-97 Game 1 win. The final scoreline wasn’t even as close at it seems, with the Clippers leading by as much as 29 during the game.

Perhaps, most impressively, the Clippers got the big win with Kawhi Leonard on the bench. 

The Clippers hit the floor running and never allowed the Mavericks to have a lead, with the Mavericks’ closest scoreline being a 7-7 tie in the first quarter. The Clippers were on fire from the three-point line and shot 18 of 36 (50%). That deadly offense stopped Dallas from ever being able to mount a serious comeback.

James Harden led the way with 32 points, eight assists and two blocks while making 6 of 11 three-pointers.


Ivica Zubac was a force down low for the Clippers as well, ending the game with 20 points, 15 rebounds, a steal and a block while shooting 10 of 17 overall.

Paul George rounded out the balanced offensive attack for the Clippers with 22 points, six rebounds, three assists and a steal, though it’s worth noting that he struggled from the field, shooting 8 of 20 overall and 4 of 12 from long range.

Doncic will be frustrated after the loss, as the Clippers continue to be his boogeyman. After suffering two first-round losses to the Clippers in 2021 and 2022, Doncic got all the way to the Conference Finals before bowing out to the eventual 2022 champions the Golden State Warriors. Now, as he faces a familiar rival, the Slovenian MVP candidate will have to find a way to maximise his teammates’ talents.

There’s plenty of basketball left to be played between the two teams. Let’s see how Jason Kidd and the Mavericks recalibrate and prepare for Game 2.