Kawhi Leonard, Arguably one of the best players in basketball, led the Clippers to a 130-122 Game 3 victory of the tough Mavericks team, and they now lead the series 2-1. The Klaw finished with 36 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists. Leonard set a franchise record by scoring 100 points in his first three playoff games, and he spoke on his latest achievement with the Clippers and gave his teammates credit. “The whole team is being aggressive and out there, helping me get early shots. Just out there playing. I want to win a basketball game.”
In the first quarter, the Clippers made shots that set the tone for the rest of the game. They created the momentum and never looked back. Leonard said, “We came out there with more energy in the first quarter. They pretty much won the game in the first quarter in game 2, going up 15-4 at one point. With a team like that, it’s hard to come back in the game. We just sat down tonight and helped each other.” He said they were able to sustain that energy the rest of the game, even when he went out in the third quarter.
Landry Shamet had a hot shooting night, which ignited the Clippers. He shot 7-13 from the field for a career playoff high of 18 points. Shamet even had baseline dunk, which gave the Clippers even more fuel. Leonard said, “He played well, he took pride in his defense and didn’t want to make mistakes. He was aggressive going to the rim offensively.”
Shamet mentioned their Game 3 wins started defensively, and from there, it opens up things on the offensive end. “We were a lot better defensively today. It starts there, and then you force misses, you can get rebounds, and then you can play a little bit more free.” After their Game Two loss, Doc Rivers placed Shamet in the started lineup and was asked did that contribute to his confidence. He said no matter what role he plays, he has the same approach every game. “I want to be whatever this team needs for me. We’re trying to win a championship, you have to do a multitude of things on a night-to-night basis. That’s what I pride myself on. Whatever my team needs, I want to do that the best way I can think my team sees and appreciate it.
Shamet also mentioned that Leonard is one of the best players in the world. “He’s a problem. Being around him this season, you see when he’s in the kind of zone he has things going for him, tonight was one of those nights. He’s one of the best players in the world for a reason. We love having him on the floor.”
Paul George has had trouble shooting, but the Clippers are not concerned one bit. Shamet said all basketball had been there, it happens, nothing needs to be said. “Nobody is worried at all. He’s a bad dude. When it comes, it comes.” Rivers commented on George’s shooting. “ I can promise you this. He has not forgotten how to shoot, and it will fall for him.”
The Clippers will face the Mavericks in Game 4 Sunday at 12:30 PM.