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Luka Doncic, Mavericks beat Clippers, take 2-0 playoff series lead

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic scores over Los Angeles Clippers guard Paul George in the first half of Game 2 of their first-round playoff series Tuesday at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI
Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic scores over Los Angeles Clippers guard Paul George in the first half of Game 2 of their first-round playoff series Tuesday at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

May 26 (UPI) -- Luka Doncic recorded a team-high 39 points and the Dallas Mavericks fended off the Los Angeles Clippers, despite a 41-point night from Kawhi Leonard, to take a 2-0 lead in their first-round playoff series.

Doncic made five 3-pointers and totaled seven rebounds and seven assists in the 127-121 victory Tuesday at Staples Center in Los Angeles.

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"They have two of the best perimeter defenders with Kawhi and Paul George, but it's the playoffs," Doncic told reporters.

"You've got to be aggressive. That's it."

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Game 2 of the Western Conference matchup featured 12 lead changes and was tied nine times. The Mavericks led by as many as 14 points.

"We just have to stay focused and make sure that we keep our eyes on the prize," Leonard told reporters.

Leonard scored 18 of his 30 first-half points in the first quarter, but the Mavericks still led 35-33 through the first 12 minutes.

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Leonard chipped in another dozen points in the second quarter to help the Clippers take a 73-71 lead at halftime. Doncic scored 14 points in the second quarter.

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Tim Hardaway Jr. and Doncic chipped in a dozen points apiece in the third frame, when the Mavericks outscored the Clippers 30-19. The Clippers held onto the lead down the stretch to secure the win.

Hardaway totaled 28 points for the Mavericks. Mavericks forward Kristaps Porzingis recorded 20 points in the win.

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George scored 28 points with 12 rebounds and six assists for the Clippers, but went 1 for 7 from 3-point range. Reggie Jackson scored 15 points off the Clippers bench.

"It's a competition and we have to rise to the occasion," George told reporters. "If we don't, we are done for. There is no level of concern, we just have to play our game and play through this.

"We have to incorporate our defense. Luka is going to get his touches, we just have to do a better job defensively and quiet everyone else."

Game 3 of the series tips off at 9:30 p.m. EDT Friday at the American Airlines Center in Dallas.

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