After taking a commanding 2-0 lead in the NBA playoffs best of 7 series and stealing homecourt advantage, the Dallas Mavericks will return to LA with the series tied, 2-2.
The Mavs lost both Friday’s Game 3 (108-118) and Sunday’s Game 4 (81-106) at American Airlines Center, where they have not played well at all this season. They took the series lead and the Clippers by surprise by winning both Games 1 and 2 in LA.
Game 5 will now be played on Wednesday night in LA and a guaranteed Game 6 will be back home in Dallas on Friday.
Mavs star Luka Doncic, who played spectacular in Game’s 1 and 2, played injured in Sunday’s game, scoring 19 points.
“I don’t think that matters right now. We lost,” he said when asked about his injury. “Injuries are part of basketball. I played terrible. We just have to move on to the next one.”
Doncic said he is experiencing “Pain in neck and then nerve down. I don’t know how to explain it. I’ll keep massaging it and ice it down and just get ready for Wednesday.”
Head coach Rick Carlisle said: “As badly as it went, I saw a lot of positives in the game.
“We had a very poor shooting night but we had some good looks. We have to work at defending better that’s obvious,” he said. “That’s where it’s at. It’s pretty simple. It’s a matchup-based series. I feel like we have to work to get more traction defensively.”
When asked how Doncic looked on the court, Carlisle said simply; “He’s in pain. It appears to me he couldn’t turn his neck to the left and that’s difficult for a guy who relies on peripheral vision and played his whole life with his head on a swivel.
“We hope he can get substantially better in the two-day break,” Carlisle continued. “That’s a positive. His neck issue certainly contributed to him having some unusual struggles on the court.”