LA Clippers’ Russell Westbrook ejected over Aussie clash in fiery end to horror NBA night against Dallas Mavericks

The Dallas Mavericks have taken a 2-1 lead in their Western Conference first-round series after a fiery 101-90 win over the Los Angeles Clippers at American Airlines Center on Saturday (AEST).

The victory moves Australian duo Dante Exum and Josh Green one step closer to the second round of the playoffs, where they would likely face fellow countryman Josh Giddey and the No. 1 seed Oklahoma City Thunder.

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The Clippers took a 23-18 lead after the first quarter, having made Luka Doncic work had for his points early as the Slovenian superstar went 1-for-4 to go with a pair of turnovers.

However, Doncic and the Mavericks started to get going in the second, outscoring the Clippers 36-18 to open up a 54-41 buffer heading into halftime.

The defence though from Dallas was particularly impressive, holding Los Angeles to 41 per cent from the field while racking up six steals and five blocks to spark fastbreak opportunities on the other end.

Green was a big part of that energy on the defensive end, hustling for three defensive rebounds and a steal in the win to go with eight points.

Green went crashing to the ground early in the second quarter after a foul from Russell Westbrook, which was later called a Flagrant-1, as the Clippers guard tried to block the Australian’s lay-in after a Doncic steal.

Westbrook appeared to say “f**k you” more than once to sections of the Mavericks crowd and was later ejected from the game in the fourth quarter for picking up two technical fouls, first for wrapping up Doncic and then for pushing PJ Washington.

It ended a rough night for Westbrook, who went 0-for-7 from the field, making just one free throw to finish with one point, three rebounds, one assist, a steal, two blocks and a pair of turnovers.

Exum, meanwhile, didn’t have much of an impact but had a nice lob pass early in the game to set up Derrick Lively Jr, who had 13 points off the bench.

Doncic and Kyrie Irving combined for 43 points in the win while Norman Powell had a tied team-high 21 points off the bench for the Clippers.

Elsewhere, Kawhi Leonard had nine points, nine rebounds, two assists and two turnovers, later admitting post-game that his right knee “just didn’t respond” the way he had hoped.

“We’re going to get it right,” he added, having entered Game 3 questionable with right knee inflammation.

PACERS LEAD SERIES AFTER OVERTIME THRILLER

Earlier, Tyrese Haliburton drove for the game-winning basket as the Indiana Pacers held off a late Milwaukee charge to beat the Bucks 121-118 in overtime and take a 2-1 lead in their NBA Eastern Conference playoff series.

Haliburton delivered a triple-double of 18 points, 10 rebounds and 16 assists to help the Pacers withstand a 42-point performance from Milwaukee forward Khris Middleton, who drilled a three-pointer to tie it with 2.3 seconds left in regulation and made another trey to knot it at 118-118 with eight seconds left in overtime.

Haliburton took an inbounds pass and split the Bucks defence as he drove for a one-handed floater with 1.6 seconds remaining in overtime.

Fouled on the play, he made the free throw to cap the scoring. Middleton, playing through a sprained right ankle, was unable to work another three-point miracle as time expired.

“I just knew I was shooting the ball,” Haliburton told broadcaster ESPN.

“I told everybody, just give me the ball, let’s go win the game.”

The Pacers escaped with the win in a game they led by 19 points in the first quarter and by 17 in the third.

With two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Giannis Antetokounmpo still sidelined by a calf injury, the Bucks couldn’t match Indiana’s early pace.

But Damian Lillard shook off an early injury scare that had him limping off briefly in the first quarter to score 19 of his 28 points in the second half to help the Bucks claw back.

They took the lead for the first time on Lillard’s three-pointer early in the fourth quarter, the lead changing hands six times in the fourth as they battled to overtime.

“Every possession is so valuable,” Haliburton said.

“You’ve got to dig in. The game’s never over.”

Myles Turner scored 29 points for the Pacers, who will try to stretch their lead when they host game four on Monday.

In the day’s late game, Minnesota took a stranglehold on its series the Suns in Phoenix, recording a comfortable 126-109 victory in game three.

The Timberwolves now hold a 3-0 lead and no NBA team has ever recovered from a 3-0 deficit to win a playoff series.

Anthony Edwards finished with a game-high 36 points, while Bradley Beal, Kevin Durant and Devin Booker all had over 20 points for the Suns, but still fell well short of victory.

Originally published as Russell Westbrook ejected over Aussie clash in fiery end to horror night

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