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NBA: Clippers outduel Mavs behind Kawhi Leonard’s 36

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Kawhi Leonard scored 36 points and the visiting Los Angeles Clippers rallied from a big early deficit to defeat the Dallas Mavericks 118-108 in Game 3 of their Western Conference first-round playoff series on Friday night.

The Mavericks lead the best-of-seven series 2-1 heading into Game 4 on Sunday in Dallas.

Paul George scored 29 points, Reggie Jackson finished with 16 points and Marcus Morris Sr. made three 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and scored 15 for the Clippers, who trailed by 19 points in the first quarter. Leonard shot 13 of 17 from the floor and added eight rebounds.

Luka Doncic scored 44 points to lead Dallas, but missed six of 13 free throws, and Jalen Brunson and Maxi Kleber scored 14 each for the Mavericks.

Morris Sr. made his second 3-pointer of the fourth quarter to give the Clippers their first double-digit lead at 105-95 with 5:46 left.

Morris made another 3 from the same spot on the baseline with 3:33 left to stretch the lead to 112-100.

The Mavericks got off to an 8-0 start and made seven 3-pointers while building an early 28-11 lead.

They led by as many as 19 points in the opening quarter before the Clippers clamped down and went on a 14-0 run while Doncic was out of the game to get within five.

Los Angeles pulled within one on a dunk by Ivica Zubac before Dallas took a 34-31 lead into the second quarter.

The Clippers took their first lead 45-44 on a 3-pointer by George with 6:56 left in the first half.

Los Angeles took its biggest lead of the opening half on a 3-pointer by Jackson that made it 63-59 with 30.5 seconds left.

Los Angeles took a 63-61 lead into the break despite 26 points from Doncic.

Leonard and George combined to make 18 of 22 shots in the first half and score 40 points. The Clippers shot 60.5 percent as a team in the first half.

The Mavericks never regained the lead in the third quarter and the Clippers led by as many as seven before taking an 89-86 lead into the fourth.

–Field Level Media

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