‘90s basketball at its best’: Luka Dončić leads Dallas Mavericks to road victory over Los Angeles Clippers to tie series

The Dallas Mavericks earned a hard-fought 96-93 Game 2 win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday to level their first-round playoff series at 1-1, leading Dallas head coach Jason Kidd to reminisce about how the game used to be played back in his day.

“We played 48 minutes of physical basketball,” Kidd said. “Both teams were under 100. It was ’90s basketball at its best.”

The Mavericks were led by 32 points from Luka Dončić, who added yet another playoff win against the Clippers to his résumé, along with six rebounds and nine assists.

In a tight contest throughout, the Clippers led 73-67 in the fourth quarter before Dallas roared back with 14 unanswered points – capped off with a Kyrie Irving driving hook shot with 5:18 left – to open up an 81-73 advantage.

The Clippers closed the gap again, but Dončić hit a clutch, step-back three-pointer over James Harden with 1:26 left in the game to extend Dallas’ lead to 90-81.

The heat of the moment caused Dončić to turn to the Clippers crowd and roar in triumph.

“It’s basketball at the end of the day – I did this my whole life, basically,” Dončić said after the game, per the Mavericks.

“I just try to have fun out there. The intensity is way higher [in the playoffs], and I just go out there and play hard and have fun.”

Irving added 23 points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals and lauded the Mavs’ teamwork and ability to do the “little things” as the team stole home-court advantage.

Kyrie Irving added 23 points for the Mavericks. - Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News/Getty Images
Kyrie Irving added 23 points for the Mavericks. - Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News/Getty Images

“Just staying poised and understanding that mistakes are going to happen, and it’s a playoff game,” he told the Mavs broadcast. “It’s going to be a low-scoring game most times and we’ve just got to be able to have that resiliency to keep battling to the end.

“That’s what a team game is about. Teams win championships, teams win games, so it’s all about us doing the right things and continue to positively encourage one another.”

The Clippers were led by 22 points from Harden and Paul George, while Kawhi Leonard scored 15 points on his return from knee inflammation.

“I felt good,” Leonard said, per ESPN. “We still got more games to play and more time to get better. Just keep trying to get a rhythm back.”

The teams now head to Dallas for the first of two games on Friday night.

Pacers level series against Bucks, Timberwolves extend lead over the Suns

Elsewhere, the Indiana Pacers leveled their first-round playoff series against the Milwaukee Bucks with an impressive 125-108 Game 2 road victory.

Pascal Siakam had an absurd night for the Pacers, registering 37 points, 11 rebounds and six assists while shooting 69.6% from the floor.

The Milwaukee Bucks, still without injured star Giannis Antetokounmpo, were once again led by Damian Lillard who had 34 points, four rebounds and five assists.

The Minnesota Timberwolves were surprisingly led to victory by Jaden McDaniels, who scored 25 points in the team’s convincing 105-93 win over the Phoenix Suns to open up a 2-0 series lead.

McDaniels – who averaged 10.5 points per game during the regular season – made 10 of his 17 field goals to go along with eight rebounds, three assists and a steal.

It was a tough night for rising star Anthony Edwards, who managed just 15 points on 25% shooting.

Devin Booker led the Suns in scoring with 20 points, while Kevin Durant added 18 points.

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