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Leonard, George shine as Clippers respond with Game 3 win over Mavericks 118-108

LA’s star tandem leads the way in a much-needed Game 3 win over the Mavericks.

2021 NBA Playoffs - LA Clippers v Dallas Mavericks
Tim Hardaway Jr. of the Dallas Mavericks plays defense on Kawhi Leonard of the LA Clippers during Round 1, Game 3 of the 2021 NBA Playoffs on May 28, 2021 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.
Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images

Kawhi Leonard and Paul George finally showed up for the Los Angeles Clippers.

Leonard racked up 36 points and George tallied 29 as the Clippers responded to dropping two home games with a 118-108 victory over the Dallas Mavericks in Game 3. Luka Doncic paced the Mavs with 44 points, nine assists and nine rebounds in the loss.

The Clippers covered the spread at +2.5 from DraftKings Sportsbook, and the over hit as well (219.5). Doncic’s player prop for combined points, assists and rebounds (47.5) will likely keep going up, but expect the guard to hit those marks after combining 62 for in Game 3. Leonard hit the over his points prop, set at 30.5.

Doncic started the game with a personal 8-0 run, sounding the alarm bells for Clippers fans and bettors. The Mavericks held a 30-11 advantage with 3:54 left in the opening period, but Leonard sank back-to-back jumpers en route to a 20-4 LA run to close the first quarter. The Clippers eventually took a 45-44 lead in the first half, mostly going on runs when Doncic exited the game for rest.

Leonard and George continued to attack in the third quarter, getting to the free throw line eight times and combining for 14 of LA’s 26 points in the period. The teams traded blows for much of the fourth quarter before Leonard’s triple sparked a 18-9 spurt to give the Clippers a 112-100 lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

The Clippers made several adjustments in the contest, but the most notable was the exclusion of Patrick Beverley from the rotation. The guard, who was getting torched defensively in the first two games, played just six minutes off the bench in Game 3. Reggie Jackson and Rajon Rondo handled point guard duties for the Clippers. Los Angeles also went small for the majority of the game, with big man Ivica Zubac logging only 11 minutes.

The Mavericks now hold a 2-1 lead in the series, and will host Game 4 Sunday at 9:30 PM ET.