Mavericks' beloved X-factor helps punch ticket to next round in win over Clippers

Dallas Mavericks, P.J. Washington, Luka Doncic
Dallas Mavericks, P.J. Washington, Luka Doncic / Tim Warner/GettyImages

On Friday night, the Dallas Mavericks had the chance to do something that they've only done once since winning the NBA Finals in 2011; make the second round of the NBA Playoffs.

They've had plenty of chances to do so, but they fell short in every season since 2011 outside of their 2022 run to the Western Conference Finals.

Dallas was able to do just that on Friday night at the American Airlines Center as they defeated the LA Clippers in Game 6 by a score of 114-101.

A fast start from Dallas helped them avoid getting in a hole early, and the Mavs kept their foot on the gas for the entire second half. Kyrie Irving got going in this second half as he finished with 30 points while shooting 11-19 from the field and 5-9 from downtown.

P.J. Washington helps punch ticket to next round in win over Clippers

Irving put his slow start from the first half to rest, and he dominated in the second half when the Mavs needed him most.

While all the eyes are going to be on Irving and Luka Doncic in this win, P.J. Washington was huge in this game as he finished with 14 points while shooting 4-8 from downtown. Doncic emphasized getting Washington going early, and a couple of early threes helped get the ball rolling for Washington and propelled him to an excellent finish.

This was a huge bounce-back game for him as he only had two points in Game 5, and he continues to be a huge X-factor for this team. Washington takes pride in playing defense and shutting down the other team's best player, and Dallas is tough to beat when he's dialed in from downtown.

It isn't every game that we see Washington get hot from downtown, as he went through a shooting slump during the beginning of his time in Dallas, but it's extremely encouraging when he's letting it fly with confidence.

Dallas' next game is on Tuesday night in Oklahoma City against the Thunder.

For all the latest on P.J. Washington and the Dallas Mavericks for the remainder of the 2024 NBA Playoffs, stay tuned.