LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers had enough answers to withstand Luka Doncic‘s record-setting debut — especially after his running mate was thrown out of the game.
Leonard had 29 points and 12 rebounds, and the Clippers got a big boost from the ejection of Kristaps Porzingis to beat the Dallas Mavericks 118-110 on Monday night in Game 1 of their Western Conference playoff series.
Doncic finished with 42 points, most ever by a player in his first post-season game, and added nine assists and seven rebounds. He had the No. 7 seed hanging right with the Clippers for much of the night.
“I mean, he’s great,” Leonard said.
But Los Angeles pulled into the lead when Porzingis was ejected for picking up his second technical foul in the third quarter and Doncic couldn’t bring the Mavs all the way back.
“KP had my back. He did it for me. He did it for his teammate. He had my back,” Doncic said. “Not just me, but the whole team appreciates that. I don’t think it was fair to take him out of the game, especially in the playoffs.”
Game 2 in the best-of-seven series is Wednesday.
Paul George added 27 points and Marcus Morris had 19 for the Clippers.
Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 18 points and Porzingis finished with 14, along with Seth Curry.
The Clippers knocked around Doncic, the 21-year-old superstar who led the NBA in triple-doubles, whenever they could. But he never stopped coming back at them, but late 3-pointers by Patrick Beverley and Morris finally turned Dallas back.
The turning point came much earlier.
Dallas led 71-66 with 9:10 left in third when Doncic was called for palming the ball. Morris was eager to grab the ball and ended up grabbing Doncic, who sought to push his way free. Porzingis came over and he and attempted to brush away Morris, who responded with a push. Referees gave both players technical fouls.
Porzingis had picked up his first technical foul in the first half for his reaction to a foul called when he believed he’d blocked a shot.
“I saw him getting into Luka’s face and I didn’t like that. That’s why I reacted.” Porzingis said. “That’s a smart, smart thing to do from their part. I’ve just got to be smarter and control my emotions, especially on the first one.”
Morris didn’t think either player deserved a technical.
“Playoffs man, nobody should get thrown out in the playoffs,” he said. “I know that really hurt their team so, not my fault though.”
Crew chief Kane Fitzgerald said officials determined after watching replay that Porzingis had escalated the incident when he approached Morris.
The Clippers swarmed Doncic from the outset, forcing him into three turnovers in the first two minutes while racing to a 10-0 lead.
It quickly grew to 18-2 3 1/2 minutes into the game and things looked really bleak for the Mavs when Doncic slipped to the court on a drive and appeared to hurt his lower leg. He went to the back after coming out of the game soon after but Dallas played well while he was out and eventually came all the way back to lead 38-34 after one.
The Mavericks then reeled off a 12-0 run in the second to push the lead to 50-36 that the Clippers trimmed to 69-66 at the break.
Mavericks: Dallas made 12 3s in the first half, a franchise playoff record.
Clippers: Reserve Montrezl Harrell returned after leaving the team for his grandmother’s death and had six points in 15 minutes. … Doc Rivers coached his 168th post-season game, tying Red Auerbach for eighth on the NBA’s career list.
Harrell missed the entire schedule of seeding games, the first six while he was away from the team and then two while quarantining after returning to campus. He rejoined his teammates Monday morning after finishing quarantine.
“I thought Nelson Mandela walked in. That’s what it felt like,” Rivers said of the reunion with the Sixth Man of the Year candidate, who made clear he wanted to play despite not getting to practice first and wore a picture of his grandmother on his warmup shirt.
“So it was just good to get him back in, not just out of quarantine that he’d been in for so long, but he’s gone through a lot of emotional stuff. So I think it was good for our guys to be able to grab him and hug him, touch him, and good for him to see us.”
Mavs coach Rick Carlisle has been beginning press conferences at Disney by reading events from the Equal Justice Initiative calendar and Monday’s entry had a Los Angeles tie. It was Aug. 17, 1965, when the Watts Riot ended after six days. Sparked by the arrest of a young Black motorist by a white police officer, they caused 34 deaths and $40 million in damage.
Carlisle said talking about past injustices is necessary to improve hopes of social reform now.
“If we talk about it, bring it forward, it will have a healing effect and we’ll have a chance to chip away and make things better,” Carlisle said.
More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Tonight’s lineup: Zeuch starts – Bluebird Banter
I hope there isn’t a injury reason for the switch. Charlie Montoyo is to talk to the media soon so we’ll hear why the change was made.
No injury to Shoemaker:
All’s well with Matt Shoemaker, per Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo. Club held him out of today’s start to preserve rotation options for wild card series. He threw a side session instead.
Blue Jays now have Hyun-jin Ryu, Taijuan Walker & Shoemaker all available to pitch Game 1
— Arden Zwelling (@ArdenZwelling) September 26, 2020
Lightning not discouraged after missing first chance to lift Stanley Cup – Sportsnet.ca
EDMONTON — The job’s not finished.
The core of this Tampa Bay Lightning team has been chasing the Stanley Cup for years, so what’s another two days between friends, right?
That’s not to discredit the Dallas Stars or pronounce this Final over. It’s merely a reflection of the Lighting’s attitude after having the trophy put back in its case with a 3-2 double-overtime loss on Saturday night.
“We’ve got a plan,” said head coach Jon Cooper. “It’s gotten us this far and we fully believe it’ll get us through the end.”
“They get the goal and we don’t, so it’s not a big deal,” added forward Anthony Cirelli.
From the Stanley Cup Qualifiers to the Stanley Cup Final, livestream every game of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, blackout-free, on Sportsnet NOW.
The Lightning were on the verge of a very big deal after Mikhail Sergachev gave them a 2-1 lead before the third period was four minutes old. They nursed it into the second half of the period before Joe Pavelski found a loose puck at the edge of the crease and did what he’s been doing for years.
It wouldn’t have been a surprise to see them pull out oxygen tanks on the Dallas bench during the first overtime period. This was the difficult end of a back-to-back and the Stars were taking on water while leaning heavily on their top-four defencemen — seeing Tampa out-attempt them 25-7 and outshoot them 7-2.
“I thought we played a good enough game to win,” said Lightning forward Ondrej Palat. “I thought in overtime we really tilted the ice, we had a lot of possession, a lot of chances, we just didn’t score on them.
“So yeah, they’re a good team, they battled back.”
The Stars gave it a push in the second overtime and won it on Corey Perry’s goal-mouth scramble at 9:23. A John Klingberg point shot ricocheted off two Tampa players and stopped at the edge of the crease before Perry slid it around Andrei Vasilevskiy.
“They’re a good team at getting pucks to the net,” said Lightning defenceman Victor Hedman. “It’s one of those things, you block a shot and it just lays behind you. We’ve got to be a little bit harder to help Vasy, but yeah, they made a nice play.
“They went hard to the net and they got a puck there and they put it in. That’s the end of it, we’ll look over it and get better for next game.”
They had an excellent chance to break the NHL bubble and finally get their hands on the Cup, but the tape will reveal that this was not Tampa at its best.
The Lightning appeared to be a step off for much of the night and didn’t create the kind of high-danger chances on Khudobin it had while building a 3-1 series lead. They also got just one first-period power play — Khudobin was the only reason they didn’t cash in there — so the goals were tougher to come by.
This was the sort of style Dallas needed to play with its season on the line.
Tampa will find some comfort from the fact it hasn’t dropped consecutive games yet in these playoffs and it lost Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final under similar circumstances before closing out the New York Islanders in the sixth.
With a little rest, and a refreshed attitude, they’ll look to repeat that script on Monday night.
“We’ve felt this feeling before,” said Cooper. “We have felt this sting and then we’ve rebounded. But the big thing is to get some rest here.
“Just in the end you could see — I don’t know, if that game went any longer, I don’t know if there would have been any goals scored.
“I think both teams were pretty tired.”
They’ve been at this for nine weeks now.
For many of the Lightning, this is the 15th playoff series they’ve gone through since 2015 and it’s the closest they’ve been to lifting the Stanley Cup. They managed to keep their minds in small places with the trophy inside Rogers Place on Saturday night, but they couldn’t quite seal the deal.
“I thought we kept it cool,” said Hedman.
The heat will get turned up quickly if they don’t get the next one.
Kansas State rallies to stun No. 3 Oklahoma – TSN
NORMAN, Okla. — Skylar Thompson passed for 334 yards and ran for three touchdowns, and Kansas State rallied from 21 points down to beat No. 3 Oklahoma 38-35 on Saturday.
Freshman Deuce Vaughn caught four passes for 129 yards and ran for a touchdown for the Wildcats, who were coming off a season-opening loss to Arkansas State. It was Kansas State’s first-ever road win against a top-three team in the AP poll.
Oklahoma freshman Spencer Rattler passed for 387 yards and four touchdowns, but he threw three interceptions.
Kansas State upset Oklahoma 48-41 in Manhattan, Kansas, last year.
Kansas State said earlier in the week it was struggling to have enough players available at all position groups to play the game because of COVID-19.
In the opening moments of the second quarter, Rattler threw into traffic and found Drake Stoops for a 32-yard touchdown. It was the first career touchdown for the son of former Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, and it gave the Sooners a 14-0 lead.
Thompson’s 39-yard touchdown pass to Chabastin Taylor in the second quarter cut Oklahoma’s lead to 14-7, but the Sooners answered with Marvin Mims’ 9-yard touchdown reception in the final minute of the first half.
Rattler’s 53-yard pass to Stoops led to Seth McGowan’s 5-yard touchdown run and a 35-14 late in the third quarter.
Two short rushing touchdowns by Thompson got the Wildcats back in the game. Kansas State’s Nick Allen blocked Reeves Mundschau’s punt, and the Wildcats took over at the Oklahoma 38. Vaughn’s 38-yard touchdown run on the Wildcats’ second offensive play and the extra point tied it at 35 with 8:17 to play.
Kansas State’s Blake Lynch hit a 50-yard field goal with 4:32 remaining. Kansas State’s Jahron McPherson intercepted Rattler in the final minute to help close out the win.
Kansas State: The Wildcats didn’t fold when they fell behind and the defense improved in the second half against Rattler.
Oklahoma: The defense fell apart much like it has many times in recent years.
Kansas State: Hosts Texas Tech on Saturday.
Oklahoma: Travels to Iowa State on Saturday. The Cyclones beat the Sooners three years ago and nearly upset them last year before falling 42-41.
Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CliffBruntAP
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