Not Luka Doncic’s heroics. Not an alteration to an Orlando bubble change of surroundings. Not an harm to the opposition’s defensive stopper. Not a deep-breath delay due to racial injustice. Regardless of quite a few enhancements, particular person accolades and altered venues, the Dallas Mavericks once more did not win a playoff collection. With second-leading scorer Kristaps Porzingis nonetheless absent on account of a knee harm, the Mavs wilted Sunday afternoon in a 111-97 loss Sport 6 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. The Mavs misplaced a collection that – only a week in the past, due to Doncic’s epic Sport Four game-winner – appeared realistically winnable. The daybreak of Luka’s promising profession nor the nightfall of Dirk Nowitzki’s Corridor-of-Fame run have pushed the Mavs previous the primary spherical. Since successful their lone championship in 2011, they’ve gone 7-21 in playoff video games and 0-5 in postseason collection. This collection in opposition to the extra proficient, closely favored Clippers was 2-2 seven days in the past after Doncic’s 30-foot buzzer-beater that shall be performed throughout NBA postseasons ceaselessly. However in Video games 5 and 6, the Mavs have been disappointingly non-competitive. Dallas trailed by 16+ factors in every of the collection’ final 4 video games and surrendered 265 factors within the closing two. With out Porzingis’ firepower – regardless of the absence of Clippers’ defensive stopper Patrick Beverly – the Mavs failed to interrupt 100 factors for the primary time within the collection within the first recreation since Dec. 29.READ MORE: Porzingis Addresses Knee Damage: ‘Conserving The Door Open’ As punchless because the offense was apart from Doncic’s 38 factors, the Mavs’ torpid protection usually had the depth of a rec league recreation. They missed 26 of their 37 3-pointers, which appeared to sap vitality from the opposite finish. As soon as down 20, Doncic’s 3-pointer pulled the Mavs inside 88-82 early within the fourth quarter. However Kawhi Leonard re-entered for L.A. and scored on a 3, a driving dunk and a jumper to revive order. By the point Reggie Jackson hit his third 3-pointer of the quarter, the Clippers have been up 16 and en path to a 4-2 collection win.However, mentioned coach Rick Carlisle of Doncic, “he is likely one of the hardest gamers I’ve ever seen on this league.”As thrilling and engaging as 2020 was — “This,” Mavs proprietor Mark Cuban tweeted precisely, “is only the start” — the Mavs have evident wants. A wholesome Porzingis is a should. A defensive enforcer who protects the rim, gobbles rebounds and doesn’t have to take pictures. Powered by an NBA-record offense, the Mavs have been in the end achieved in by the league’s 18th-ranked protection that left too skinny of a margin for its perimeter shooters. As he was all throughout the restart in Orlando, Doncic was once more Superman, this time falling one rebound and one help in need of one more triple-double. He even withstood a violent double-whack from nemesis Marcus Morris, who was ejected within the second quarter for chopping him on high of the top and within the neck.We an solely think about the farewell Morris would’ve acquired had Sport 6 been at American Airways Middle.Stated Luka with reference to Morris, who has repeatedly engaged in such play this collection: “I didn’t want to think (a previous incident) was on purpose, but after today’s play … I don’t want to deal with players like that.”Given a fast turnaround to the 2021 season, Doncic’s solidified stardom and the promise of a wholesome return by Porzingis, the Mavericks have reliable causes to be optimistic.”My aim each season is to win a championship,” Doncic mentioned. “There isn’t any different aim. That is going to be mine.”However clearly, greater than ever, the primary hurdle is to easily win a playoff collection.”Tons to be pleased with,” tweeted superstar-turned-superfan Dirk Nowitzki at recreation’s finish, “and much to look ahead to.”And plenty of work to do.