Playing on the second night of a back-to-back on Saturday evening, the LA Clippers took down the Dallas Mavericks to pick up their fourth win in their last five outings. With talks of team chemistry going downhill yet again, the Clippers blocked out the noise and soundly defeated an excellent opponent.
This was the kind of win Clippers fans had been waiting for. Ending the losing streak and getting back-to-back victories over San Antonio was nice, but it felt like the team had not truly validated their winning streak against another high-level playoff opponent. That changed on Saturday night.
The Clippers earned the win on the back of Paul George, who made up for what turned out to be a rough night offensively from Kawhi Leonard. Finishing with 25 points on 9-for-19 shooting, it was George's aggressive approach that allowed LA to smoke Dallas right out of the gate.
The Clippers showed they are still a force to be reckoned with
The Mavericks were playing without rookie Dereck Lively, who has had an excellent start to his first pro season and has demonstrated instant chemistry with Luka Doncic. The Clippers took full advantage of the shorthanded Mavs.
Ivica Zubac had a much easier go at things on the interior without Lively around, and he gobbled up 14 rebounds to go with his 11 points. Norman Powell poured in 15 points off the bench without missing a shot, and was a major factor in helping the Clippers keep their lead in the second half.
Russell Westbrook had a nice bounce-back game as well with 14 points and seven assists. Not many could have guessed the Clippers would have put together this solid a performance overall with Kawhi Leonard scoring just eight points.
But the fact that LA did still muster such a strong performance as a team with their best player struggling is a testament to how deep and talented this roster is. This win was a perfect example of just how high their ceiling can be if they continue improving on this current trajectory.