With a 126-111 win in Game 7, the Los Angeles Clippers advanced to the second round of the NBA Playoffs and eliminated the Dallas Mavericks. The Clippers have shown their grit in what has been a rollercoaster first round of the playoffs, where they battled back from a 3-2 series deficit to eventually earn a spot in the Western Conference semifinals. Historically, the Clippers have been defined by playoff failures and the current roster seems determined to flip the script. 

Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard finished with 28 points and 10 rebounds, Marcus Morris with 23 points and Paul George with 22 points and six rebounds. However, no player performed to the level of the Mavericks’ Luka Doncic, who had 46 points, 14 assists and seven rebounds. Despite the efforts of Doncic, the Clippers would prevail. Kawhi responded to the result by saying, “These games are not won with just one or two great players. You need a whole 17 or 16 players that you have.” 

The Clippers were down early in the series as they lost the first two games at home, making them only the fifth team to win a series after such a start. The team was able to battle back in a series that would eventually be forced to a Game 7. 

Even in Game 7, it looked as if another playoff shortcoming for the Clippers was possible. With a comfortable 19-point lead, the Clippers began to slip and allowed their lead to shrink to just seven with two minutes left in the fourth quarter. The Clippers showed their resilience as Morris and Reggie Jackson sunk three-pointers on consecutive possessions. After setting the record for most three-pointers made in a Game 7 (20), the Clippers were able to hold on. 

Clippers star George spoke after the game. “This team forced us to play on a nightly basis a full 48-minute game,” he said. “Let’s not again even get into last year. We’re on to a whole other season. We hung in there and stuck together and knew what it took to win tonight.” 

This victory made Clippers coach Tyrone Lue 4-0 in Game 7s. Lue attributes success in Game 7s to “trust” and claims to have built that behind the scenes with film sessions. Lue cut his post-game press conference short with a quick statement. “We can’t keep looking behind at what happened,” he said. “That s—’s over.” Lue and the Clippers do not wish to dwell on what went wrong in the series. They will face the top-seeded Utah Jazz in the next round of the NBA Playoffs.

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