Dallas Mavericks forward Maxi Kleber thought that the Los Angeles Clippers' reaction to Kawhi Leonard's thunderous dunk should have been a technical foul. After Leonard dunked on Kleber in transition, the Mavericks forward fell on his backside and Clippers' Paul George and Marcus Morris Sr.
stood in front of him and celebrated by flexing and yelling toward him. "I think the staredown should've been a technical foul, in my opinion, but that's not my decision," Kleber said after the Mavericks' practice on Sunday, per ESPN.
"I didn't really care. I get up and try to keep playing, and we kept playing. Stuff like that happens. Obviously, it was an amazing dunk." Kleber finished on a poster but he had no regrets over contesting a shot.
"This is the playoffs, so I'm going to try to contest a shot," said Kleber, Dallas' primary defender against Leonard. "I don't care about [being on a highlight]. You don't try to give up easy baskets.
"I honestly didn't expect him to jump up and dunk, but it's not going to hold me back, because at the end of the day, every possession counts. I couldn't foul. I would do it every time again."
Leonard's dunk over Kleber got the building going
"The reality is a play like that, it gets the building going, but it's two points," Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle said.
"We've just got to respond the right way by executing the next offensive play and the next defensive play. That game at that time could have gone either way, so I really liked the way we kept our composure, kept executing and were able to make some plays."
The Mavericks won Game 113-103 after a triple-double by their star guard Luka Doncic. "When they don't double, attack it," Doncic said. "When they double, there's someone who's going to be open.
I've just got to read the game." Mavericks' Dorian Finney-Smith took the advantage of the Clippers doubling Doncic. "When Luka gets going, I just try to stay ready, because I know they're about to start trapping," said Finney-Smith, who finished with 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting, including a corner 3 off a beautiful, cross-court feed from Doncic to give the Mavericks the lead for good with 2:50 remaining.
"That's when he gets to finding people, slinging the ball across the court, finding guys when we're open. I just know they're going to send two guys at Luka. You've just got to be ready to shoot."