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Los Angeles Clippers

Luka Doncic and Kawhi Leonard duel it out, but the Clippers hold on to beat the Mavericks in Dallas

Clippers vs. Mavericks
(NBA Getty Images)

After winning a close one in New Orleans, the Los Angeles Clippers continued their Grammy road trip in Dallas. Playing without Paul George for a sixth consecutive game, the Clippers, led by Kawhi Leonard took care of business with a close win against a formidable Mavericks offense led by Luke Doncic.

With this win, the Clippers have improved to 7-2 record in 2020, much better than their 5-4 record over the last nine games of December.

Here a look at the biggest takeaways from the Clippers' win in Dallas:

Doncic stars, Porzingis returns but Mavs fall short late

Luka Doncic carried the Mavericks to a 6-4 record without Porzingis and even with the Latvian's return, the reigning Rookie of the Year still put up the numbers.

Registering his 19th 30-point game of the season, Doncic finished the game with 36 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists, and two blocks in 35 minutes.

After falling behind in the second quarter, Doncic sparked the Mavericks comeback in the third quarter, scoring or assisting on 22 of the team's 29 points in the third period.

Porzingis recorded a near double-double of 10 points and nine rebounds in 27 minutes but struggled shooting from the field, going 4-of-17 from the field and 1-of-8 from the three-point line.

"This loss is on me and that's how I feel," Porzingis said postgame. "I just have to play better for my team, for my guys, for my coaches. I know it's my first game back, but I always have high expectations for myself and I'm just disappointed that I wasn't able to shoot the ball better."

As a team, the Mavericks shot below their standards - 39-91 FG's (42.9%) and 12-43 3P's (27.9%). Even Doncic struggled, shooting 12-of-26 from the field and 3-of-12 from deep.

That hurt them down the stretch when the Clippers made their late 11-5 run (3:00 - 1:00 minute mark) in the fourth quarter.

Kawhi leads Clippers' balanced effort on an off-shooting night

By their standards, it was an off-shooting game for both teams.

The Clippers shot 36-of-97 (37.1%) from the field and 12-of-38 (31.6%) from beyond the arc in a game where they had four double-digit contributors.

Kawhi Leonard led form the front with his double-double of 36 points (12-29 FG's; 1-9 3PT) and 11 rebounds. He also recorded three steals, two assists, and two blocks.

"We're just pretty much playing hard," Leonard said on the Clippers winning eight of their last 10. "We're watching film together, seeing the mistakes we've been making so everybody's just giving in, mind and body-wanting to compete, make plays and just being abetter basketball team."

Landry Shamet (18 points), Montrezl Harrell (12), and Lou Williams (16) were the other big scorers as the Clippers improve to 5-1 in the last six games without George.

Powell suffers season-ending Achilles injury

Center Dwight Powell, a key member of the Mavericks' rotation, suffered a non-contact Achilles injury in the first quarter of the game and is expected to miss the remainder of the season.

"Well, it is a somber night with the Dwight [Powell] situation," Mavericks head Rick Carlisle said after the game. "He is going to have an MRI tomorrow.It is aright Achilles injury.I t fears to be severe,but we won't know for sure until they do a diagnostic test on it."

Powell was averaging 9.6 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 1.5 assists (career-high) in the 27 games he played this season.

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