As the Clippers playoff journey begins, they win game one 118-100 victory over the Dallas Mavericks. It was a great win, but also a learning lesson said head coach Doc Rivers. The Clippers were off to a hot shooting start, went up 18-2, then allowed the Mavericks to get back in the game. “No matter what the lead is or who you’re playing, you’re in the playoffs, it’s going to be hard,” said Rivers. After they had a big lead in the first quarter, Rivers stated he thought it would be an easy game.
Superstars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George had big games putting up 29 pts, (Leonard), and 27 pts (George), but the difference maker was their latest pick-up, Marcus Morris. “If I had to single one player out, it would be Marcus Morris. Defensively he was phenomenal.” Rivers noted he was one of the few patient players and did not force a shot. “He kind of just let the matchups happen. When things did work out in his favor, he took advantage of it. I don’t think he forced anything. He kind of let the game go to him.”
“I’ve said it from day one him becoming a Clipper was one of the biggest pick-ups we’ve had,” said George. “The way Marcus played tonight, being able to switch on both defenders, being able to score, and rebound. He just did a little bit of everything for us.” George said the Clippers take pride in winning. “We got a team that’s willing to do everything and anything. You go down the list; everybody is all in.”
The Mavericks went on a 48-18 run in the first half, and the Clippers were still able to come up with a win. Rivers told reporters that the Mavericks are too good offensively to think things are going to be easy. He believes the Clippers understand that from this point forward.
“This is playoff basketball,” stated Leonard. He said the Mavericks are tough teams, have a great culture, and won’t stop fighting. “You see leads like this all the time. This is what it’s all about,” says the former NBA Finals MVP. He was happy the Clippers were able to win despite the challenges they faced as a team. “Still enjoying this journey. We got a lot to build from. We’re going to look at the film and see how we can improve,” says Leonard.
Morris mentioned playing in the bubble for the first time was different. “At the same time, I’m a professional, so I know the level of intensity that we need with or without the fans.” The Clippers can win in multiple ways because of their versatility. “I think that’s why this team was built. Lots of versatile guys, lot of energy, lot of effort. That’s what this team was built on. This is a solid team and was going to keep getting better as we go,” Morris said.
The Clippers are up 1-0 in the seven game series against the Mavericks. Game two will be on Wednesday at 6:00 PM.