NBA: the Clippers force the Game 7 against the Mavs behind the 45 of Kawhi Leonard

LA Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2) shoots Dallas Mavericks goalie Luka Doncic (77) during the fourth quarter of Game 6 of the 2021 NBA Playoff first round at the American Airlines Center. Kevin Jairaj, USA TODAY Sports via Reuters

Kawhi Leonard scored 45 and Reggie Jackson added 25 as the Los Angeles Clippers kept their season alive with a 104-97 win over host Dallas Mavericks on Friday to force a Game 7 in a premier playoff series. Western Conference round.

Paul George scored 20 points with 13 rebounds as the Clippers recovered from a seven-point deficit in the third quarter, while shaking off a home loss in Game 5 to tie the series 3-3.

All six games in the series were won by the road team for the first time in NBA playoff history.

Luka Doncic scored 29 points with 11 assists for the Mavericks, who will have their second chance to advance in Los Angeles on Sunday. Tim Hardaway Jr. added 23 points for Dallas, who is trying to avenge a first-round loss to the Clippers in last season’s playoffs.

Leonard stepped up in the Clippers elimination game, scoring a series high. He went 18 of 25 from the field, also a high for shooting attempts in the series, and was 5 of 9 at 3 points.

Doncic was content to be more of a ball distributor, reaching double-digit assists in the third quarter. He had just 17 points five minutes from time after scoring 42 points in Game 5.

With the Clippers ahead 90-88 and just over three minutes to go, Leonard made a long jump, followed by 3 consecutive runs in a decisive stretch as Los Angeles took a 99-90 lead with 1 : 41 to play.

The Mavericks were leading 77-73 early in the fourth quarter before the Clippers jumped 90-85 with 5:03 left on a Nicolas Batum dunk. Doncic followed with a 3-pointer, his first of the game with 4:41 left, to put Dallas on a possession before Leonard took over.

The Clippers’ defense made the difference, keeping the Mavericks 41.6 percent on shots for the game and 29.2 percent (7 of 24) in the fourth quarter.

The Mavericks seemed to be on the right track, leading most of the first half and going up to nine midway through the second quarter. The Clippers led a 6-0 streak to end the period and take a 48-45 lead at the break.

The Clippers only received points from their starters in the first half, with Leonard (16) in the lead. Doncic had 15 at the break, 5 of 11 on the field and 0 of 3 to 3 points.

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NBA, NBA Playoffs, Clippers Mavs Game 6, Los Angeles Clippers, Dallas Mavericks, Kawhi Leonard, Luka Doncic,

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