Clippers can’t stop Dallas, lose Game 5 and control of series

Clippers cant stop Dallas lose Game 5 and control of

It is typically unadvisable to go after the same rebound that Boban Marjanovic wants.

At 7-foot-4, with a reach as wide as a Texas live oak and hands like baseball mitts, Dallas’ center owns much of the airspace near the rim. When a Mavericks shot caromed off the rim early in the third quarter Wednesday, he grabbed hold of the ball, appearing to extend the Mavericks’ possession. But he never saw Kawhi Leonard run in to meet him.

Leonard clamped his 11 ¼-inch wide hands onto the pebbled leather and, with a twist of his hips, cleanly ripped it out of Marjanovic’s grip.

If there was ever a night for the Clippers’ taking, this was it. Returning home after two consecutive road wins to even this first-round playoff series entering Game 5 at Staples Center, the Clippers had the healthy superstars, the momentum and the welcoming crowd aching to witness the team’s first postseason win at home since 2017.

Yet the moments when they flexed their muscles were too infrequent, their hold never strong enough. Because of it, after a 105-100 loss, their championship ambitions are again hanging on for dear life trailing 3-2 in the series, with Game 6 coming Friday in Dallas.

Entering the game with a strained neck, Dallas guard Luka Doncic finished it with 42 points and 14 assists.

Clippers forwards Marcus Morris Sr. #8 and Kawhi Leonard #2 wrestle the ball from Mavericks center Boban Marjanovic during Game 5 on Wednesday night at Staples Center.

(Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)

Trailing by 14 after three quarters and 10 with 2:13 to play in the fourth quarter, the Clippers stormed back on a 9-1 run, only to see Terance Mann’s pass in the paint to a cutting Nicolas Batum yield a miss when they trailed by one with just 8.8 seconds remaining. Dallas’ Tim Hardaway Jr. made two free throws to push his team’s lead to 103-100.

On the Clippers’ ensuing possession, Leonard missed an off-balance three-pointer from the corner that could have tied the score.

Paul George led the Clippers with 23 points and 10 rebounds, while Leonard and Reggie Jackson each contributed 20 points.

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