For the first time in seven games, the home team won. Finally. Game 7 was a must-win, obviously, for the Los Angeles Clippers, and in their fourth attempt on their court, they were able to put away the Dallas Mavericks, winning 126-111 on Sunday to advance to the second round of the playoffs. They did it despite a ridiculous scoring night for Luka Doncic. The superstar had 46 points (and 14 assists as well) in the defeat; a valiant effort for a vanquished foe.
The difference was made by how well the Clippers were able to spread the load. Kawhi Leonard had 28 points, ten rebounds, and nine assists for a near triple-double and Paul George added 22 as well. The team as a whole nailed all 24 free throws they earned, too, helping their cause. They will now take on the Utah Jazz in the second round. Elsewhere, in the early game of the day, the Atlanta Hawks went into Philadelphia and took victory away from Game 1 of their second-round series. The 76ers did their best to come back from a large deficit, but the Hawks held them off with a fine display by the likes of Trae Young and John Collins. Young had 35 points to go along with ten assists, only outscored by Joel Embiid’s 39, and Collins had 21. That’s four wins in a row since Game 3 of the first round with the Knicks, showing the Hawks might be a tougher out than many imagined they would be.