By Eric Lambkins II
Sports Reporter 

Leonard's return is not enough in Game 2 loss


April 25, 2024

Jevone Moore

Clipper forward Kawhi Leonard gets ready to shoot over Kyrie Irving of the Mavericks in Game 2 in downtown Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles Clippers, already up 1-0 in a series that could be their best chance at a title run, showed remarkable resilience in Game 2. Despite the setback of Kawhi Leonard's 23-day battle with knee inflammation, his return to the series was a testament to the team's determination. However, even with Leonard's comeback, the Clippers couldn't overcome the relentless efforts of Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving who led Dallas to victory.

Doncic played 46 minutes, scored 32 points, dished out nine assists and grabbed six rebounds and Irving had 23 points, played 42 minutes and grabbed six rebounds. Also, what really hurt the Clippers was the Maverick's P.J. Washington who scored 18 points. The Clippers fell to the Dallas Mavericks in a 96-93 defensive battle at Arena in Game 2. Dallas held Los Angeles to 36.8% from the field and 26.7% from beyond the arc.

"We missed a lot of shots, but as far as what we did defensively, I'll take that every day of the week," Clippers head coach Tyron Lue said. "We are going to make some tough shots, but overall to hold a team to 96 points, that's really great defensive tonight. So, we just got to do a better job of scoring the basketball."

The Clippers hope that Leonard can regain his Hall-of-Fame form after he scored 15 points, shooting seven-for-17 and zero-for-five from three. "I was just trying to make sure I could get into the game and play," Leonard said. "That's what my last week has been about, trying to get back on the floor."

Like Lue, one of the Clippers' other superstars Paul George is unwavering about their ability to overcome dropping a game at home and stealing one in Dallas. "The guys that we got in that locker room give me confidence. The guys in that locker room, and we're back full strength. I thought we played well. We gave ourselves again a chance to win tonight, which is great. It's what you ask for. I'm confident going into Dallas. We'll do our job and steal one. We'll look at Game 3 as an opportunity to steal one and go from there."

But Luka Doncic, in his typical nonchalant manner, wasn't surprised by his Game 2 performance. For him, it was just another game, a display of his unwavering confidence and skill. "[It's] nothing special. It's basketball at the end of the day. I have done this my whole life, basically. I'm just trying to have fun out there. The intensity is way higher, and [I] just go out there, play hard and have fun."

George and Harden led the Clippers in scoring with each scoring 22 points. Harden also had eight assists, and six rebounds. Game 3 is Friday at the American Airlines Center in Dallas at 5 p.m. and Game 4 is in Dallas on Sunday at 12:30 p.m.

Follow Eric on X @elambsquared and Instagram @elamb5quared. I


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