Mavericks' reality check turns Game 1 struggle into Game 2 strength

Dallas Mavericks v Los Angeles Clippers - Game Two
Dallas Mavericks v Los Angeles Clippers - Game Two / Harry How/GettyImages

The Dallas Mavericks started their Game 2 two performance off with a different intensity, one we didn't see during the first game.

The defensive tenacity shown by the Mavs allowed them to even up the series at 1-1 in a 96-93 low-scoring game against the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Clippers got whatever they wanted on offense during the previous game, and the Mavs had to emphasize the effort on that side of the floor if they wanted any chance in the second game. With NBA Champion Kawhi Leonard returning to the lineup, it was essential for the Mavericks to play defense.

Mavericks' reality check helps turn their defense around

Luka Doncic was the target for the Clippers offensively. They wanted to get him involved in every switch and allow their guys to eat. It was quite the opposite; Doncic held his own and took pride in his defense (subscription required).

"It’s playoffs. It’s different. They’re trying to double with me and I say no double. I take pride in my defense too."

Luka Doncic

Beyond Doncic, the Mavericks' team defense was stellar. Everyone had active hands; there were multiple steals and deflections. Moving forward, it will be crucial for the Mavs to keep this effort and energy up.

This was the first game all season the Mavericks have won when scoring under 100 points, so it shows the defensive effort and that it wasn't just an "off-night" from Clippers stars.

The team can't expect to win these "90's styled" games every night, but it's important to see the shift in energy between the two games. Doncic's defense has improved significantly this season, and they will need him to continue to buckle down on that end of the floor.

The Mavericks come back home and face the Clippers in two major swing games. The Mavs need to continue the defensive tenacity we saw in Game 2.

For more updates on the Dallas Mavericks, stay tuned.