The Clippers are on the ropes: They are down 2-1 going into a Game 4 on the road. Of course, Clippers fans know better than most that being down 3-1 is not the end of the story, but Kawhi’s injury looms large over the Clippers’ chances of turning this series around.

Game Information

Where: American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas

When: 12:30 PM PT

How to Watch: ABC, 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 – Daniel Gafford


Clippers: Kawhi Leonard Questionable (Knee)

Mavericks: Luka Doncic Questionable (Knee), Tim Hardaway Jr. Out (Ankle), Olivier Maxence-Prosper Out (Ankle)


Kawhi’s Health: In our Game 3 preview, Rob wrote “[t]he 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.” Well, after three games, I think that sentiment remains the same. But Rob then said, “[h]opefully Kawhi looks fresher and has more legs under him in this one.” That hope now seems more like a prayer. In Game Three, Kawhi clearly did not look right, and the Clippers’ limited him to just 24 minutes because of it. As noted above, Kawhi is listed as “Questionable” again, but it feels a little closer to “Doubtful” than his status before Friday’s game.

James Harden: Through three games, Harden is averaging 23.7 points, seven assists, and a steal on 47.7% shooting from the field and 44.8% from three. That is about as good as one could hope from the Clippers’ (in theory) third best player, especially given that his shot volume has gone up by about three attempts per game compared to the regular season. He probably could be doing more to get the Clippers’ offense more organized, but it is hard to have a flowing offense with Kawhi’s injury limitations. In fact, the Clippers’ offense looked much more organized in Game One, in which Harden was the Clipper’s clear leader on the floor (along with Ivica Zubac).

The Mavericks: The Mavericks have only scored over 100 points once this series, despite averaging over 115 points per game during the regular season. In Game Three, they shot the same percentage (45%) as the Clippers and were under 30% from the behind the three point line. So how did they blow out the Clippers in Game Three? Possessions: They had three more offensive rebounds and turned the ball over 11 fewer times than the Clippers. That translated to 16 more shots from the floor. The Mavericks do not feel like the better team—but they are playing better. They have had more focus, chemistry, and energy than the Clippers, which is in stark contrast to the Clippers’ clear frustration, which spilled out during multiple shoving matches on Friday night.

Bottom Line: Kawhi’s injury is the only factor that truly matters. If he is the Kawhi we have seen all year, and in previous playoff series against the Mavs, then the Clippers have more than enough to even this series up before heading back home to LA.

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