Clippers Drop Game 2 with Kawhi Leonard Returning 

LOS ANGELES, CA-– In a bewildering lackluster game of sorts, the Dallas Mavericks evened the series with the Clippers at Arena on Monday night. From the tipoff,  the Clippers were  lifeless, lacking any drive or heart in order  to attempt seize control of the series up 2-0. 

Rather, Mavericks Superstar Luka Doncic   torched the Clippers, evening the first round series at 1-1. Now its the Mavs who have home court advantage. 

 Doncic scored 32 points, Irving added 23 and the Mavs won 96-93 on Tuesday night to tie their Western Conference first-round playoff series at a game apiece.

“Obviously it was a must-win and everybody was locked in,” said P.J. Washington Jr., who had a big fourth quarter and finished with 18 points. “They punched us in the mouth in Game 1 and we just wanted to respond.”

Game 3 is Friday in Dallas. 

Leonard had 15 points and seven rebounds in 35 minutes of his first game since March 31. He hadn’t played or had any contact practices during that stretch because of inflammation in his surgically repaired right knee.

“I felt good,” Leonard said. “We still got more games to play and more time to get better. Just keep trying to get a rhythm back.”

Leonard’s optimism is courageous, but many fans noticed he was not healthy last night. It takes time to return, but he’s rusty, and unable at the moment to drive past his defenders.

The Mavs led most of the game two days after they trailed by 29 points and eventually lost 109-97.

“We played 48 minutes of physical basketball,” Dallas coach Jason Kidd said. “Both teams were under 100. It was ‘90s basketball at its best.”

Paul George and James Harden led the Clippers with 22 points each. Ivica Zubac had 13 points and 12 rebounds. The team shot 37% from the floor and made just 8 of 30 3-pointers.

Plagued by poor shooting and behind for much of the game, the Clippers began rallying in the third. Trailing by seven, they outscored the Mavs 19-10 down the stretch to take a 66-65 lead into the fourth. Doncic tied the game at 65-all before getting called for a technical. Harden’s free throw provided the narrow lead.

The Clippers trailed 93-90 on Leonard’s basket with 20 seconds left. Irving was called for a foul, which the Mavs challenged and got it overturned. Irving made 3 of 4 free throws before George sank a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

This wild, Unpredictable series seems destined to go seven games.