After keeping it tight throughout the afternoon on Saturday, the Clippers surrendered a 13-3 run in the final three minutes of Game 1 as the Mavericks seized a 113-103 win. The Clippers will again host the Mavericks in Game 2 Tuesday evening.
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
When: 7:30 p.m. PST
How to Watch: NBA TV, Bally Sports SoCal, AM 570 L.A. Sports, 1330 AM Tu Liga
Projected Starting Lineups:
L.A. Clippers: Patrick Beverley – Paul George – Kawhi Leonard – Marcus Morris Sr. – Ivica Zubac
Dallas Mavericks: Luka Dončić – Tim Hardaway Jr. – Dorian Finney-Smith – Kristaps Porziņģis – Maxi Kleber
L.A. Clippers: N/A
Dallas Mavericks: Maxi Kleber – Day-to-Day (Right Achilles Soreness), JJ Redick – OUT (Right Achilles)
The Big Picture
Entering the 2021 Playoffs, the Clippers were one of the most heavily scrutinized teams in the league. A quiet star whose leadership is often questioned; a side-kick who hit rock bottom in the playoffs just a year ago; a team now synonymous with blowing 3-1 leads; the Clippers’ Game 1 late-game breakdown did little to dispel these dismissive tags. The Clippers crumbled down the stretch as Ty Lue made several questionable coaching decisions, ultimately relying on a small-ball lineup who struggled to stop a dynamic Dončić. Game 2’s tend to be a showcase of adjustments however, one Lue will need to ace if the Clippers are to even the series. Last year’s Clippers team got punched in the mouth and stayed down. The prevailing thought was that this year, this team, would be different. But that remains to be seen.
Clippers vs. Mavericks Game Notes
Mann Down: One of the more puzzling coaching decisions in Game 1 came from Lue’s choice to play Terrance Mann less that one minute. As newly-extended guard Luke Kennard struggled to find offensive consistency, Mann asserted himself as not only a fan favorite but one of the most intense and energetic players on the Clippers this season.
Slowing Down Dončić: Entering the playoffs, the Clippers believed they matched up well with Dallas. In part, the choice to tank for the four-seed hailed from their confidence in George and Kawhi as defensive stoppers. But in Game 1, Dončić navigating his way through the LAC defense with ease. Too often Dončić found himself with favorable switches down the stretch. An increase in minutes for Serge Ibaka could be one option, as could Mann’s entrance into the closing small-ball lineup. Either way, if the Clippers are to win Game 2, they’ll need to improve on that end.
Returning to the Mean: The Clippers paved their way to the playoffs on the back of historic, league-leading three-point shooting, but in Game 1 it was the Mavericks who had the last laugh from beyond the arc. The Mavericks shot a scorching 17-36 from three. The Clippers? A measly 11-40. It seems a regression, or in the case of LA, a progression to the mean is in order in Game 2.
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