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NBA playoffs: PG13 ends drought to power Clippers past Mavericks

Los Angeles Clippers guard Paul George (L) helped his squad earn a 3-2 series lead on the Dallas Mavericks with a playoff win Tuesday at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla. Photo by John G. Mabanglo/EPA-EFE
Los Angeles Clippers guard Paul George (L) helped his squad earn a 3-2 series lead on the Dallas Mavericks with a playoff win Tuesday at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla. Photo by John G. Mabanglo/EPA-EFE

Aug. 26 (UPI) -- Paul George ended his playoff struggles with a game-high 35 points to lead the Los Angeles Clippers to a win over the Dallas Mavericks in Game 5 of their Western Conference playoff series Tuesday night.

The Clippers now lead the series 3-2 after they set a franchise record for points in a playoff game.

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"I got into a different mentality, a different mindset and found myself," George told reporters after the 154-111 triumph at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex inside Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla.

George said he underestimated his mental health when asked about his struggles through the first part of the series. He said he had anxiety and depression and "checked out" of the series before he consulted with a team psychiatrist.

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"My energy, my spirit was changed," George said. "That's all it needed. I came here, I knew what my job was. I left it all on that court. I'm ready to move forward."

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Kawhi Leonard chipped in 32 points in the victory. Luka Doncic, who'd scored at least 40 points in two of the series four previous games, was held to 22 points in the loss.

The Clippers led by as many as 27 points in the first half, paced by 22 points from Leonard and 18 from George. They pushed that lead to as many as 45 points in the second half.

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Dallas began the game with an 8-2 run before Los Angeles answered with an 18-0 run to take a 28-16 advantage with 4:46 remaining in the first quarter. George scored nine points in the first 12 minutes, while Leonard added 15 first-quarter points.

George added nine more points in the third quarter and the Clippers led 111-86 as the game entered the final 12 minutes. The Clippers outscored the Mavericks 43-25 down the stretch to pile on to their lopsided edge.

"We just played together, played hard and played aggressive," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said.

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Montrezl Harrell scored 19 points and had 11 rebounds off the bench for Los Angeles. Tim Hardaway Jr. had 19 points and Trey Burke 15 for Dallas.

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Game 6 of the best-of-seven series tips off at 9 p.m. EDT Thursday in Orlando.

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