LOS ANGELES – No chest-thumping, shouting or theatrics. With very little change of expression, Kawhi Leonard altered the Los Angeles Clippers' playoff fortunes.
Leonard narrowly missed a triple-double, finishing with 28 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, to help the Clippers finish off the Dallas Mavericks 126-111 on Sunday in Game 7 of the first-round series.
“It's all about the moment,” Leonard said. “You got to be aggressive all night and don't try to make the game be perfect.”
Playing in front of a noisy mix of 7,342 masked fans and cardboard cutouts, the Clippers did what neither team had been able to pull off in the first six games — win at home. It was the first time in NBA history the road team won the first six games of a playoff series.
“We saw everything in this series,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said.
The Clippers became the fifth team in league history to lose the first two games at home and come back to win a playoff series.
“It was a great win for us,” said Tyronn Lue, who improved to 4-0 in Game 7s of his coaching career. “It showed a lot about our team.”
The fourth-seeded Clippers advanced to the Western Conference semifinals for the second straight year. They'll play the top-seeded Utah Jazz starting Tuesday night in Salt Lake City.