The Clippers will try to regain momentum in their series against the Dallas Mavericks by taking the pivotal Game 3 on the road.

Game Information

Where: American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas

When: 5:00 PM PT

How to Watch: ESPN, Watch ESPN, AM 570

Tickets: For great deals on Clippers tickets, check out Barry’s Tickets!

Projected Starting Lineups

Clippers: James Harden – Terance Mann – Paul George – Kawhi Leonard – Ivica Zubac

Mavericks: Kyrie Irving – Luka Doncic – Derrick Jones Jr. – PJ Washington – Dereck Lively II


Clippers: Kawhi Leonard Questionable (Knee)

Mavericks: Tim Hardaway Jr. Out (Ankle), Daniel Gafford Questionable (Back), Olivier Maxence-Prosper Out (Ankle)


Kawhi’s Health: Clippers fans’ anxiety spiked when the injury report for Game 3 was released and Kawhi Leonard was listed as questionable. Kawhi played 35 minutes in Game 2 and Ty Lue said on Thursday that Kawhi was fine, so this appears to be precautionary. Still, it seems as though Kawhi is not out of the woods yet. If there was a likely chance of re-injury he would not be playing, but if he’s playing through pain/stiffness and is not 100%, the Clippers’ chances of winning any given game (and the series as a whole of course) plummet. The first two games have shown the Clippers might not need superstar Kawhi to win this series, but they do need a version better than the guy who showed up in Game 2 and couldn’t make a jumper outside of 15 feet. Hopefully Kawhi looks fresher and has more legs under him in this one.

Solving Mavs’ Smallball: The Mavs have been by far at their best this series when they’ve gone small with Maxi Kleber at center. Kleber is a very good perimeter defender who can cover all of the Clippers’ main weapons, and offers at least theoretical spacing that has brought Ivica Zubac out of the paint. The Clippers need to find a counter on both ends. On defense, I do think they should force Maxi (or Derrick Jones Jr. or Josh Green) to beat them from deep. Make those guys take 6+ threes and see how they do. On offense, the Clippers need to continue to feed Ivica Zubac, and to hunt the Mavs’ weaker defenders. But instead of settling for post-ups or ISOs on Luka or Kyrie, the Clippers should be trying to go to the rim, as Maxi offers little rim protection and the Clippers are at their best when their drive and kick is running. Quicker decisions, more aggression, and just generally getting into the offense faster should help.

Getting Norm Going: After a terrific regular season, Norman Powell has had a dismal start to the playoffs. He’s 4-16 from the field (1-10 from two!!) in the first two games, averaging a mere 5.5 points per game. And, in classic Norm fashion, he’s not offering anything outside of scoring, with just five rebounds, one assist, and one steal total across his 56 minutes. The Clippers don’t need supernova Norm (though it would help) but they can’t win this series if he continues to play like this. Of course, if he does continue to struggle, Ty Lue needs to go away from him quicker (Terance, Amir, or Russ can all fill in depending on lineup), but none of those guys comes close to Norm’s shooting and firepower. The Clippers should try to get Norm a couple easy looks so he can see the ball go in and hopefully get a rhythm.

The Backup Center Spot: Another Clipper who has struggled, albeit much more expectedly, is Mason Plumlee. Plumlee has gotten the Clippers’ reserve big man spot in this series and has not done much with it. He has rebounded the ball well (10 in 24 minutes) and has had one or two nice defensive sequences, but has mostly been bad on defense and has been an utter non-factor on offense. With the Mavs going small themselves, I’m curious if Ty Lue tries Daniel Theis, goes even smaller with PJ Tucker, or tries microball again without any big man at all (please no). I’ve thought Theis has been better than Plumlee all year so I’d like to see him get a shot, but if the Clippers are going to switch everything anyway they (sigh) might as well try Tucker. I’d be mildly surprised if Plumlee is still the backup center in Game 3.

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