DALLAS — The Dallas Mavericks won Game 3 of their first round playoff series against the Los Angeles Clippers by a final score of 101-90 on Friday night. It was a physical game that led to a number of heated moments. Through it all, Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving, and the Mavs kept their cool for the most part.

“It's playoff basketball, there's always going to be some… Stay focused, stay locked in and just play the game,” Doncic said of the back-and-forth on Friday. “I'm used to that, I'm used to players coming at me. I'm used to that so I just try to stay calm and just keep playing basketball.”

The Mavericks had Doncic's back. There were many instances of Dallas and LA exchanging words, but one play in the fourth quarter led to Russell Westbrook receiving his second technical foul which resulted in an automatic ejection.

PJ Washington also picked up his second technical foul and was ultimately ejected as well. Nevertheless, the Mavericks clearly had Doncic's back after Westbrook's unnecessary foul on Luka.

Mavericks overcome Clippers antics

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) is fouled by LA Clippers guard Russell Westbrook (0) during the fourth quarter during game three of the first round for the 2024 NBA playoffs at the American Airlines Center.
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Again, both teams were involved in heated moments. As Luka said, that is just playoff basketball. Westbrook, however, had multiple plays that were questionable at best.

Doncic refused to retaliate, though. He obviously wasn't pleased with Westbrook's foul in the video posted above and asked the Clippers guard about it. Westbrook immediately shoved Luka and instead of pushing back, Doncic walked in a different direction.

He knew his teammates would have his back. Also, as Doncic said, he wanted to focus on “playing basketball.”

Dereck Lively II addressed Luka's willingness to diffuse tension-filled situations.

“It shows how he's locked in,” Lively said. “He’s locked into winning. He’s not locked into the nastiness of what can go on in a game. You know, there's going to be a lot of times where people are going to try to get him out of his comfort zone, try to get him out of his rhythm or just try to get into his head. All he needs to do is know that his teammates got his back. We are going to step in and make sure he… cool out and make sure he goes back on the other side of the play.”

Kyrie Irving also felt that the Mavericks did a good job of keeping their emotions in check for the most part.

“When it gets to the gritty part of the game, I feel like we responded, we kept our emotions,” Irving said. “We were able to battle to the end and come out with this win… It's a different style of basketball when you get to the playoffs. It gets a little extra chippy. I think you are seeing the true competitive nature of certain guys… You got to be able to control it. That's the key to all this. If you're going to dish it out, you better be able to be ready for somebody to dish it back to you.

“You just got to pick and choose your battles wisely, no who you can get under a little bit mentally. Just focus on the big picture at the end of it… Don't get kicked out of the game, but if you are then just make it worth your while. Just make sure we're winning.”

The Mavericks now lead the series 2-1 over the Clippers. Game 4, which projects to be another hard-fought affair, is scheduled for Sunday in Dallas.