The 2021 NBA Playoffs continued on Sunday with four games on the slate but none were bigger than the LA Clippers and Lakers.
The Clippers were looking to get back into their series against the Dallas Mavericks after dropping two in Los Angeles, while the Lakers looked to take a commanding lead in their series against the Phoenix Suns.
In case you missed it, here’s a recap of each game:
(2) Phoenix Suns 100, (7) Lakers 92 – Series tied 2-2
The Lakers had a chance to take a commanding 3-1 series lead on Sunday afternoon but could not overcome the loss of Anthony Davis as they fell 100-92 at Staples Center.
The series now heads back to Phoenix tied at two games apiece with a crucial Game 5 on Tuesday night.
Los Angeles did not look like the defending champions they are without Davis, who left the game in the second half with a groin injury. After the game, it was reported Davis’ status for Game 5 is “unclear” and is listed as day-to-day.
”I thought he was laboring a little bit” even before the groin injury, Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said of Davis’ injury. ”He was saying that his knee was sore, but there was no way that he was not going to play. I thought he gave a heck of a run at it, trying to compete through pain.”
Without Davis, LeBron James led the way for the Lakers with 25 points and 12 rebounds. Marc Gasol added 12 points off the bench.
Meanwhile, Phoenix nearly played without All-Star guard Chris Paul, who has been dealing with a nagging shoulder injury. Paul convinced coach Monty Williams to play and it seemed to inspire his team’s play.
Paul had 18 points and nine assists, Devin Booker and Jae Crowder added 17 points, and Deandre Ayton had 14 points and 17 rebounds.
”Everything clicks a little better with 3 on the court and with 3 being himself,” Crowder said. ”I feel like we feed off of that. He’s a big part of the puzzle. It’s a little challenging when we don’t have him doing things he normally does. It’s definitely monumental that he’s out there for our team.”
(4) LA Clippers 106, (5) Dallas Mavericks 81 – Series tied 2-2
The other team from Los Angeles also evened their best of seven series as the Clippers crushed the Dallas Mavericks 106-81 behind another dominating performance from Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.
Leonard had 29 points and 10 rebounds and George scored 20 points to lead the Clippers to a 106-81 rout of the Mavericks in Game 4 of their Western Conference first-round series at the American Airlines Center on Sunday night.
Reggie Jackson added 15 points for the Clippers, who will now go back to Staples Center with a chance to take a 3-2 series lead after dropping the first two games of the series at home.
After two dominating performances in Los Angeles, Luka Doncic has struggled following a cervical strain, leaving him with pain in his neck and down his left arm. He was questionable for Game 4 but still gave it a go.
”He’s in pain,” Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle said of Doncic. ”It appeared to me he couldn’t turn left, couldn’t look to his left, couldn’t turn his neck to the left. That’s difficult for a guy that relies on peripheral vision and basically has played his whole life with his head on a swivel. His neck issue certainly contributed to a 9-for-24 night and him having some real unusual struggles.”
Doncic had just 19 points on 9-for-24 shooting and Kristaps Porzingis added 18 points as he rebounded from a poor outing in Game 3.
”I don’t think that matters right now,” Doncic said. ”Injuries are a part of basketball. I was 100%. But I played terribly. Just got to move on to the next one.”