Destabilizing speculation

Kawhi scores 45 points as Clippers outlive Mavericks, force Game 7

Let’s move on to game 7.

Tonight was a back-and-forth battle as Kawhi Leonard and the Los Angeles Clippers outlasted the Dallas Mavericks, 104-97, to win Game 6 and force Game 7.

Leonard dominated the entire game, especially the second half, ending the night with 45 points on a super-efficient 18 of 25 on the field, including several clutch buckets in the dying minutes to win the game for the Clippers.

“He destroyed us. That’s what it is, ”Luka Doncic said of Leonard.

Neither team was able to gain momentum or take the lead without the other racing their own and killing even the slightest momentum – until Kawhi took absolute control at the fourth.

Doncic finished the game with 29 points, 8 rebounds, 11 assists and 4 steals. Doncic struggled in the third quarter before scoring 12 points in the fourth.

The Mavericks deployed the same starting lineup as Game 5, which featured center-starting Boban, who scored 12 points and 9 rebounds in just over 17 minutes.

Tim Hardaway Jr. was aggressive alongside Luka, scoring 23 points on 9 of 19. With Tim Hardaway Sr. in the crowd, Jr. fell into a groove and let him fly.

Kristaps Porzingis, again, was used more as a decoy and ground spacer than a true offensive weapon, finishing with just 7 points on 7 shots.

“It’s obviously not easy, but I accept it,” Porzingis said. “This is what the team asks me to do and I am ready to do whatever it takes to move us forward.”

What stands out most beyond Kawhi’s dominance is the refereeing, which, if you’re on the Maverick side, was appalling. Many missed calls left the Luka and company with their hands up and spitting words at the officials.

The free throw difference speaks for itself as the Clippers had 14 more attempts than the Mavericks.

“It’s a Game 7, no matter where you are you have to leave everything on the pitch,” said Luka.

Game 7 ends Sunday at 2:30 p.m. at Staples Center.

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