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Luka Doncic nagged by injury as Los Angeles Clippers trounce Dallas Mavericks in Game 4

The series is tied 2-2 with Game 5 in LA on Wednesday night.

DALLAS — A white Dallas Mavericks towel draped over every purchased seat in the American Airlines Center on Sunday night.

As the Mavs took the floor for Game 4 against the Los Angeles Clippers, the home crowd rose to their feet, hollered and waved the white towels.

Roughly 18,000 fans waving roughly 18,000 proverbial white flags.

How poetic.

Game 4 did not end until 11:01 p.m. CT, but it was over long before then.

The visiting Clippers outscored the Mavericks in each quarter en route to a dominating and series-altering victory, 106-81.

Los Angeles jumped out to an early lead on the backs of Kawhi Leonard (29 points) and Paul George (20 points) as the Clippers evened the series 2-2.

Mavericks All-Star Luka Dončić was questionable heading into Sunday's game after suffering a cervical strain in Game 3.

There was no doubt he would suit up, which he did with some athletic straps around his left shoulder, but there was doubt how effective he would be.

It didn't take long to find out.

In the opening quarter, the 22-year-old scored four points and turned the ball over twice.

RELATED: Tortoise and the Hare: Clippers outlast Mavericks' hot start to spoil Luka Dončić's first home playoff game

Quarters two through four didn't get much better.

"I played terrible," Doncic said after the game, refusing to blame anything on his injury.

Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle elaborated on Luka's discomfort.

"He's in pain," Carlisle said. "It appeared to me he couldn't turn left. Couldn't look to his left. That's difficult for a guy who has played his whole life with his head on a swivel."

Doncic finished the game with 19 points on 9-for-24 from the field (38%).

He shot seven three-pointers.

He made one.

He shot five free throws.

He made none.

As talented as the Mavericks are, they simply are not good enough to beat the veteran Clippers in a playoff game when their young superstar is having that off a night.

"As badly as it went, I saw a lot of positives in the game," Carlisle noted. "We've got to work at defending better. That's obvious."

The Mavericks live and die by the three-pointer.

When they're knocking them down, they're near impossible to beat because defenders have to close out all the way to the perimeter.

And when defenders close out that far, it opens up the lane for easy layups or opens up a swing pass for an open three.

Sprinkle in a bunch of pick-and-roll or pick-and-pop and that's the Luka-led Mavericks offense.

That's how the Mavericks buried the Clippers in Games 1 and 2.

But when the threes are not falling -- and Luka's superheroics fall short -- the Mavs look lost and lack confidence.

That's how the Clippers tormented the Mavericks in Games 3 and 4.

Many questions await the Mavericks in Los Angeles.

How will Luka feel after three nights of rest?

How long does that neck and nerve pain linger? 

What can the Mavericks do defensively to limit Leonard and George without giving up wide-open threes?

Bad news: Dallas blew a 2-0 series lead and lost homecourt advantage.

Good news: They're better on the road anyway.

The Mavericks have not won a home playoff game since April 26, 2015.

They'll get another shot when they return back to the AAC on Friday night for Game 6.

Leave the white towels at home.

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