Leonard scores 36 to lead Clippers past Mavericks

DALLAS (AP) — The Dallas Mavericks brought back one big man but lost another yesterday, and in the end, they couldn’t rein in the reigning Finals MVP.

Kawhi Leonard scored 36 points, Landry Shamet hit two clutch three-pointers late and the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Dallas Mavericks 110-107 yesterday for their fourth straight win.

Dallas ended a four-game winning streak, and more importantly, lost a key piece in centre Dwight Powell just as they welcomed back Kristaps Porzingis.

Powell went down to a non-contact, right Achilles tendon injury in the first quarter, and though he will have an MRI, the team is fearing a worst-case scenario.

“Guys like him define the culture we want here,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. “It doesn’t get much tougher than this, if it ends up being what we fear it might.”

Luka Doncic had 36 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists for Dallas. He scored 24 points in the second half to help rally the Mavericks after they trailed by double digits from late in the second quarter through most of the third.

Shamet helped the Clippers seize the game late in the fourth quarter. His three from the left wing to give Los Angeles a 100-98 lead with 2:48 to play. Montrezl Harrell added two free throws, then Shamet sank another three from straight-on to put the Clippers up by seven. He finished with 18 points.

“We just kind of found a way to win,” Shamet said. “We’d loved to keep that lead the whole game, but that’s not how it’s going to be. It’s a long season. We got to find different ways how to win like we did tonight.”

Leonard added 11 in the fourth quarter, including his only three of the game with 1:15 left, which put the Clippers up 108-100.

But Dallas rallied, as Doncic hit a three and Maxi Kleber a dunk. After a Clippers turnover, Tim Hardaway Jr’s potential tying three spun around and out. JaMychal Green missed two free throws for LA, but then Doncic missed two — the second intentionally — and Leonard sealed it with two free throws.

Powell went down when he started to drive toward the basket but his right leg gave out. He fell to the ground and immediately slapped the floor in pain. He was helped to the locker room putting no weight on his right leg.

Powell was averaging nearly 10 points a game in 39 games prior to the injury. He averaged 13 points over 10 games on 71 per cent shooting.

With Powell out, Dallas got 16 valuable minutes from former Clipper Boban Marjanovic, who had 12 points and seven rebounds.