The LA Clippers will host the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday evening for the first of a home-and-home against their familiar foe. Continue reading for our preview of the Clippers’ game against the Mavs.
Where: Crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles, California
When: 5:30 p.m. PT
How to Tune in: Bally Sports SoCal, AM 570
Projected Starting Lineups
LA Clippers: Reggie Jackson – Norman Powell – Nicolas Batum – Marcus Morris – Ivica Zubac
Dallas Mavericks: Luka Doncic – Jalen Brunson – Reggie Bullock – Dorian Finney-Smith – Dwight Powell
Clippers: Kawhi Leonard Out (Knee), Jason Preston Out (Foot), (Ankle), Paul George Out (Elbow), Jay Scrubb Out (Foot)
Raptors: Kristaps Porzingis Out (Knee), Tim Hardaway Jr. Out (Foot)
The Big Picture
Trade deadline week is arguably the roughest time of the season for NBA players and some of the Clippers are playing as if that’s the case. After two straight blowouts (including a justified loss to the defending champs), the vibes are all out of sorts with this team. We’ll know ahead of tipoff which Clippers made it past the deadline and potentially which didn’t. Either way, it could be another weird game. Players’ emotions aside, the reality is that the NBA waits for nobody — traded or not. The Clips are slowly losing ground on the seventh seed and only a disastrous Lakers team is keeping the Clippers from falling into one of the last two play-in seeds. They could really use a win against Dallas on Thursday to make this tough stretch of games a little easier.
The Clippers’ path to stop the bleeding won’t be easy. Jason Kidd has the Mavericks playing extraordinarily well at the moment and their defense appears to be the real deal. Jalen Brunson has emerged as a legitimate second scoring option and Reggie Bullock has finally found his shooting stroke. Oh, and Luka Doncic is back to playing like the Luka that has given the Clippers fits over the last two postseasons.
As it stands, the Mavs have won three games in a row and are 32-23 on the year. and are knocking on the door of the No. 4 seed.
Clippers vs. Mavs Game Notes
- Forcing Turnovers: Despite the turnover potential with Luka Doncic, the Mavericks are in the bottom three in the NBA when it comes to turnovers per game (12.6) and opponent points off of turnovers (14.6). If the Clippers can force the Mavs into turnovers and use their length (Covington, Batum, Zubac) to make things a bit uncomfortable for Dallas, it’ll go a long way in making this game winnable for LA.
- Points in the Paint: Both teams are tied for 26th in points in the paint per game (42.5). The difference between the two teams is that the Clippers are equally as bad at protecting the paint. Their 50.2 points in the paint allowed per game rank near the bottom of the league and we saw how easy it was on Tuesday for a pick-and-roll centric guard like Ja Morant to have his way around the rim. While Ja and Luka are different, they both feast out of the PnR. The Clippers can’t afford to let the Mavs have their way inside on Wednesday night.
- No Porzingis: Regardless of how you feel about Kristpas Porzingis as a player, he was a lot better in the two games against the Clippers this season than he was in previous playoff matchups. In fact, Porzingis led the team in scoring (30 and 25 points) in both meetings against the Clippers this season. His ability to stretch the floor will be missed by Dallas in this one, which might make life a little bit easier for guys like Isaiah Hartenstein and Ivica Zubac on the defensive end.