After taking back home court advantage from the Dallas Mavericks in an instant classic Game 4, the Clippers are back in Los Angeles for Game 5, hoping to take a 3-2 advantage in the series.

Game Information

Where: Arena, Los Angeles, California

When: 7:00 PM PT

How to Watch: TNT, Bally Sports SoCal, AM 570

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

Projected Starting Lineups

Clippers: James Harden – Terance Mann – Paul George – Amir Coffey  – Ivica Zubac

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


Clippers: Kawhi Leonard Out (Knee)

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


Kawhi’s Health: Before Game 4, when Lawrence Frank noted that Kawhi was out for the game, he said that the team wouldn’t put a timetable on Kawhi’s return and that the Clippers’ star wouldn’t be back until “he can make all the movements that he needs to make.” So there’s a good chance that Kawhi is not coming back during this series. And even if he does try to will himself back, is that actually the best thing for the team? The Clippers have found success without Kawhi on the court, thanks to the heroics of James Harden and Paul George. For any real championship run, the Clippers will need a healthy Kawhi Leonard. And so getting past the first round without him, giving him that time to heal, is probably their only realistic path.

The Mavs’ Next Chess Move: What cards do the Mavericks have up their sleeve? Our instincts tell us that surely a Luka master-class is coming, but if his knee continues to be an issue, maybe it’s not such a guarantee. And we’ve already seen one Kyrie explosion in game 4. But what else can Jason Kidd get out of this Dallas roster? The Mavs had been best going small, but in Game 4 James Harden repeatedly carved up the smaller lineup with short floaters that he’s been practicing, a shot which Jason Kidd appears comfortable to let him continue to take. So do they go big again? It hasn’t been working when they have, largely because neither Gafford nor Lively can pull Zubac away from the paint, and both have been doormats for Big Zu in the post. Right now the pressure is all on Dallas to adjust because they can’t just assume Kyrie will be able to produce another Steph Curry impression, and Luka is already doing all he can.

Luka’s Knee: Luka’s listed as probable for Game 5, which isn’t surprising, but his sprained knee clearly isn’t 100%. He’s been a step slow offensively, and he’s got limited lift on his usually terrifying step-back three ball, shooting just 26.5% from three in the series (and 17.4% in Games 3 and 4). That said, “struggling” Luka is still averaging 29-10-9 and is still incredibly dangerous inside 15 feet. The Clippers can’t let his health disarm them, but they’d also be fools to ignore it. The game plan should continue to be to attack him at the point-of-attack with playmakers who will keep him working hard on both ends.

Following Up Game 4: Game 4 was probably the most entertaining game of these 2024 playoffs. The shot-making was off the charts, the System was in full effect, and everyone had their turns shining. In the final minutes Kyrie Irving and Paul George each took the lead from one another with two of the most insanely difficult shots of the year. But despite coughing up the 31-point lead, the Clippers still have plenty of momentum after holding on to Game 4. And we know Paul George loves his Game 5’s, so we can expect a similar level of swagger. If he can be as decisive as he was in the first half of Game 4, if Harden can continue to pick his defenders wisely, and if the Clippers can stay the course with their mostly-effective Luka strategy, they have a good shot.

Disclaimer: 213Hoops may receive compensation for some links to products and services in this post.

Erik Olsgaard

Erik Olsgaard

Erik has been a fan of the Clippers since 2004 and a member of the Clippers blogging community since 2009. He took a brief hiatus from writing, but now he's back with 213 Hoops, to provide an elder millennial's perspective on all things Clippers. You can always count on Erik to get to the truth of the matter by marrying up stats with the eye-test.

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments