With the NBA season having started in late December, rookies making their debuts despite having been drafted just weeks ago, and most teams disallowing fans due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this season will look like none other in history. For the Mavericks and Clippers, their Sunday game made history as well, and it had nothing to do with any shortened-season oddities.
The Mavericks, an up-and-coming team led by 21-year-old Slovenian point guard Luka Doncic, got off to a rough 0-2 start to the season. The Los Angeles Clippers, meanwhile, are expected to contend for a title, and got off and running with a quick 2-0 start, including an opening-night win over the Lakers.
When the two teams met Sunday, the Clippers decided to rest superstar Kawhi Leonard, who had lacerated his mouth, as well as strong contributor Marcus Morris. Without that formidable duo, the Clippers put up one of the most embarrassing performances in NBA history—and they were the home team.
Up Fifty at the Half?!
The Mavericks throttled the Clippers in every way imaginable at Staples Center Sunday afternoon, building an enormous lead of 36-13 after a single quarter. Amazingly, they put up an even better second quarter, outscoring the Clippers 41-14. Those two quarters combined had Dallas leading LA by a mind-bogglingly one-sided score of 77-27 at halftime. Yep, that was the record for the best (or worst, depending how you look at it) first half played in NBA history.
Dallas at one time led by as many as 57 points. But it was the 50-point lead that went into the record books, besting the 1991 record set by the Golden State Warriors against the Sacramento Kings.
There were two components that contributed to the epic half for Dallas. One, the Mavericks were on fire from the floor. Two, the Clippers couldn’t hit a shot to save their lives. LA at one point looked like it may not even make it to 20 points by the half. Their long-range shooting was partially to blame, shooting a ghastly 4-of-33 (12%) from three-point range for the game… not that bad, considering they started 1-for-17!
It’s not like LA had a bunch of scrubs on the floor with Leonard and Morris out. Paul George, Serge Ibaka, and Nicolas Batum were among the veteran players that simply put up a collective horrific effort. Maybe the Clippers were too distracted by the cross-town Chargers-Broncos game? Hmm, unlikely.
Second Half Normalized
What do you say in the locker room if you’re Clippers coach Tyrron Lue? Your team literally just played the worst first half of game in the league’s history! He must have come up with something, because the second half box score looked a little more “normal”, though there were plenty of deep bench players into the game for both sides by that point.
The Mavericks outscored the Clippers just 47-46 in the second half, unable to duplicate their historic first half and win by something even crazier, like 80 or 90 points. What do you even say if you’re the Clippers’ social media team? Well, move on… quickly.
Time will tell if this game was an anomaly or the start of something big for Luka and the Mavs. They play their first home game Wednesday vs. the Hornets.
Luckily for LA, they are still 2-1, and are expected to get Leonard back in time for their upcoming game with the Timberwolves, who will be without superstar Karl Anthony Towns for some time.