Croats in NBA: Ivica Zubac and LA Clippers Advance to Semifinal Round

Daniela Rogulj

August 31, 2020 – The Los Angeles Clippers have advanced to the Western Conference semifinals after winning 111:97 in Game 6 of the series against the Dallas Mavericks. Croatian Ivica Zubac and the LA Angeles Clippers celebrated in the series 4:2.

This time, Dallas was not helped by the brilliant game of Luka Doncic, who led the Mavs with 38 points, nine rebounds, and nine assists. However, Doncic couldn’t act alone against Los Angeles, led by Kawhi Leonard scoring 33 points, 14 rebounds, seven assists, and five steals.

Croatian center Ivica Zubac was also brilliant with 15 points and 11 rebounds, and he also had the best +/- in the team of +32. Namely, +/- is a statistic that shows how much a particular team has made or lost with one player on the court. The Clippers were better than the Mavs by 32 points with Zubac on the floor.

Los Angeles immediately took a 7-0 lead at the start of the game, but Dallas quickly equalized and held on until the end of the half. Moreover, the Mavs finished the first quarter leading 34:29, but the Clippers proved better in the attack for a six-point lead by the end of the half.

It should be mentioned that Doncic was also without his best teammate and the team’s second-best scorer Kristaps Porzingis, who is recovering from a ruptured meniscus in his right knee. The Slovene did not start well in the second half; the Clippers scored from all sides and quickly went ahead 23 points. However, Doncic and the Mavs did not give up. The great Doncic took matters into his own hands and practically independently reduced the Clippers’ lead to six points with nine and a half minutes to go.

Kawhi Leonard then made it impossible for the Mavs to come back. Kawhi dominated in one-on-one situations from the halfway line. He shot over the guards, and when the Mavs finally decided to double-team him, the Clippers lead hit double digits, and Doncic could no longer act alone. Purely for comparison, Doncic had only two teammates who scored double-digits – Tim Hardaway Jr. (10 points with 4-15 shots in play) and Dorian Finney-Smith (16 points). On the other hand, in addition to Ivica Zubac, who played a key role, Leonard can thank Paul George, who added 15 points and nine rebounds, and Reggie Jackson played a big role from the bench with 14 points and five rebounds, of which he scored 12 in the last quarter.

The Clippers await the winner of the Utah-Denver series. Doncic and Dallas are going home after a superb season. 


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