Clippers on brink of playoff elimination after losing Game 5 to Mavericks

The winner of Game 5 of the Western Conference first-round series Wednesday night was going to be one step away from advancing. The loser of Game 5 of this best-of-seven series was going to be one step away from elimination.

The Clippers are close to seeing their season come to an end following a humbling 123-93 loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night at Arena.

A severe third-quarter drought put the Clippers in a 25-point hole and their season edged toward the brink in the process. When that hole got deeper with a 32-point deficit in the fourth, the Clippers were on their way to trailing the series 3-2.

They never got a handle on Luka Doncic, who had his way while scoring 35 points on 14-for-26 shooting, with 10 assists and seven rebounds.

Game 6 is Friday night in Dallas, the same site where the Clippers won Game 4 on Sunday to tie the series at 2-2. So, it’s a must-win for the Clippers, who have said that there is no timetable for Kawhi Leonard to return from the inflammation in his right knee that has kept him out of three of the five games.

A grimy, offensively challenged effort by the Clippers combined with a defensive-oriented game by Dallas left L.A. in a bind all game.

The Clippers shot just 33.3% from the field in the third quarter, including 30% (three of 10) from three-point range. Conversely, the Mavericks torched the Clippers in that frame, making 63.2% of their shots, 44.4% of their threes.

For the game, the Clippers shot 37.9% from the field and 25.7% from three-point range.

Paul George was four-for-13 shooting from the field for 15 points. James Harden was two-for-12 from the field and one-for-seven from three-point range for seven points.

They are the stars the Clippers have leaned on in the series, but both had off nights.

Russell Westbrook was two-for-11 shooting from the field for six points. Amir Coffey and Mason Plumlee both shot one for six from the field for three points.

It was that kind of night for the Clippers.

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