Mavs' Luka Doncic dominates Game 5 despite illness, knee injury

LOS ANGELES — Dallas Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic got an early start on his postgame treatment Wednesday night, wrapping a large ice pack around his sprained right knee midway through the fourth quarter.

Doncic had already played his best game in this first-round series. He posted 35 points, 7 rebounds and 10 assists, despite playing through illness and injury, to lead the LA Clippers to a 123-93 victory in a pivotal game. Knee if it was the regular season.

“It's the playoffs,” said Doncic, who had been battling a cold for days and injured his knee in the first quarter of Game 3. “When you start the game in the playoffs, it's different. There's a lot of adrenaline, a lot of emotion so you just keep going.”

Doncic was especially dominant in the third quarter, when Dallas stretched its 10-point halftime lead to 20. He played all but 8 seconds and had 14 points and 3 assists in the quarter.

Doncic continued to struggle with his jump shot, going 2-of-8 on 3-point attempts and dropping to 26.3% from long range in the series. But he made 12 of his 18 attempts inside the arc, scoring 20 points in the paint.

“Obviously, my shooting wasn't great. Not great. Really bad,” Danczyk said. “I was going downhill. I felt good the first four 3s I took, not going in, but my whole mindset was downhill.”

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As in the Mavs' previous two wins in this series, Doncic has excelled on the defensive end of the floor, where he struggled mightily in Sunday's Game 4 loss to Dallas.

The Clippers were 3-of-12 from the floor when Doncic was the primary defender in Game 5, including 0-of-7 from 3-point range, according to ESPN Stats and Information.

“I always talk about his resilience,” said Mavs co-star Kyrie Irving, who had 14 points and 6 assists. “He's not feeling 100 percent, but he's still going to go out and play. For me as a teammate, I enjoy that. I'm happy to be around someone like that, that's going to push themselves, but be smart and still have an impact. In the game — more clips of him.” Khali, even if he's sick or he can't be 100 percent, he can still lead our team in his own way.

It was the fifth 30-point, 10-assist performance of Doncic's postseason career. Other players in franchise history have accomplished that feat only twice, with Steve Nash and Mark Aguirre each having one playoff performance.

Dancic, who shot over 50% from the floor for the first time in the series, scored 61 of the Mavs' 123 points or helped put the Clippers on the brink of elimination.

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“We knew at some point Luka was going to have a Luka game,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said. “We're not going to hang our heads. We've got to win four games. We go to Dallas on Friday, Game 6, and we're ready to go.”

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