Defensive issues persist as Mavericks waste Luka Doncic 40-piece in loss to Clippers

Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic
Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic / Katelyn Mulcahy/GettyImages
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The Dallas Mavericks lost to the LA Clippers 113-101 on Tuesday night. Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue was not going to let Luka Doncic defeat his team. He doubled from the opening tipoff and mixed up the blitzes to keep number 77 in check. Luka usually goes off against the Clippers, and he still finished with 43 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists, and two steals on Dec. 10 after an incredible second half, but it was not enough.

It was the defense that sunk Dallas on Tuesday night. The Mavericks allowed 113 points, including 69 in the first half, as the Clippers shot 45.3 percent from the field and 38.7 percent on their 3-point attempts. The Mavs shot just 31.6 percent from long range at Crypto.com arena on Tuesday night, but it was their defense that was a bigger problem.

The Clippers snapped a six-game losing streak with their win over Dallas. The Mavericks just could not get stops, and it continued a persistent problem that the team has had since Dorian Finney-Smith went out with a groin injury.

Defensive issues persist as Dallas Mavericks waste Luka Doncic 40-piece in loss to Clippers

Finney-Smith suffered an adductor injury in the Dec. 19 game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Since that night, the Mavs have won eight of 11 games, but their defense has been problematic. Luka Doncic’s hot stretch coupled with his supporting cast hitting shots has helped Dallas outscore the opposition, but they have a 117.4 defensive rating since Dec. 20, which ranks 25th in the NBA.

The Mavericks did nothing to improve their numbers on Tuesday night. They played well in the second half, but the comeback could not be completed after Dallas gave up 69 in the first 24 minutes. The Clippers scored just 44 points in the second half, but it was still not enough because of their poor defense in the opening 24 minutes.

The Dallas Mavericks have been without three key rotation players in every game since Dec. 20, but they need to lock in on the defensive end of the floor. Luka Doncic and company showed they can do it in the second half on Tuesday night, but it was just too little too late.

The Clippers had a hot shooting first half, but they were helped by plenty of easy looks inside against the Mavericks. Dallas needs to step up their defense if they want to make another deep playoff run, and the Mavs certainly did not do that in the first half on Tuesday night. Hopefully, this loss is a wake-up call to the Dallas defense.

The Dallas Mavericks stay in Los Angeles to face the Lakers on Thursday night. Expect another monster night from Luka Doncic, but will the team pick up their defense? Be sure to tune in to find out.

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