The Los Angeles Clippers will try to close out their first-round Western Conference series against the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday when they play Game 6 inside the NBA bubble near Orlando.
The two teams will meet after a brief hiatus that started Wednesday, with the Milwaukee Bucks refusing to play against the Orlando Magic in protest of the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis. The rest of the playoff games were put on hold as NBA players, coaches and owners met to chart their course going forward.
The Clippers, along with the Los Angeles Lakers, reportedly were two of the clubs that voted to end the season. However, after much dialogue, players on both teams changed their minds.
Clippers coach Doc Rivers said he had no doubt the playoffs would resume.
“I think everyone else did, but I knew how high the emotions were and I just, I had a lot of faith that it would all calm down,” Rivers said Friday, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The Clippers hold a 3-2 edge in the series over the Mavericks, who will be without center Kristaps Porzingis.
Porzingis has been ruled out of the series with a lateral meniscus tear in his right knee. He reportedly sustained the injury in Game 1 but played in Games 2 and 3 before missing the last two contests.
With Porzingis sidelined, the Clippers pounded the Mavericks 154-111 in Game 5 on Tuesday. Los Angeles set a franchise record for points scored in a playoff game.
Paul George broke out of his playoff funk by scoring 35 points. After shooting 29.0 percent in the previous four games, George converted 12 of 18 shots and 4 of 8 from 3-point range.
“I just got into a different place,” George said.
Kawhi Leonard contributed 32 points, while Montrezl Harrell finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds for the Clippers, who bounced back from a stunning Game 4 loss last Sunday when Luka Doncic’s 3-pointer before the horn lifted the Mavericks to a 135-133 overtime win. Doncic had 43 points, 17 rebounds and 13 assists for his second straight triple-double.
Doncic, though, was limited to 22 points on 6-of-17 shooting from the floor and 1-of-6 on 3-pointers in Game 5.
The series has been a testy one. Six technicals and a flagrant-1 foul were called in Game 5, and Dallas coach Rick Carlisle was ejected in the second half.
Doncic was upset that Marcus Morris Sr. appeared to intentionally step on his ailing left ankle. Morris denied doing so on purpose.
Doncic, Tim Hardaway Jr. (neck), Dorian Finney-Smith (hip) and Trey Burke (ankle) were listed as questionable on the injury report. Carlisle said Saturday that Doncic will be ready to play.
“Ankle’s doing well, all things considered,” Carlisle said, according to the Dallas Morning News. “The extra two or three days is a plus, certainly. In practice today, he looked pretty good, so going into tomorrow, I don’t think he’s going to be limited.”
Clippers guard Patrick Beverley (calf), who hasn’t played in the series, is listed as questionable.
–Field Level Media