Clippers vs. Mavericks Prediction
The Clippers will host the first two games of this 1st round Western Conference playoff series against the Mavericks. The Mavericks ended up with a 42-30 record to finish out the regular season. The Clippers concluded the year with a 47-25 record. Look in this article to see my Clippers vs. Mavericks Prediction.
The Clippers ended the year off with 2 losses against some of the worst teams in the NBA. But, those losses could have been strategic so that they could face the Mavericks team that they beat last year in the playoffs. Led by Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, the Clippers will be a difficult team to beat all postseason long.
The Mavericks have been carried by star Slovenian player Luka Doncic, as he continued his brilliance all season long. The Mavericks finished off the regular season with a 7-3 record and were able to lock up the 5th seed in the West. Dallas is looking for its revenge against the Clips and a chance to compete in the playoffs this year.
I had the opportunity to see these two teams live in Dallas back in mid-March, and I will say it was a game to remember. Luka was able to hand the Clippers 42 points in a blowout win for Dallas. Paul George and Kawhi were both a little off in that game, but they will have 7 games to win this series. It will be a phenomenal series to watch regardless of the outcome.
Mavericks Need to Find Consistent Scorers If They Want A Different Outcome in the Postseason
The Mavericks had a down year offensively compared to last year. They still ended up in 8th for the offensive rating over the year. Luka Doncic carried the load all year with numbers of 27.7 points per game, 8 rebounds, and 8.6 assists per game. If Dallas is able to get Kristaps Porzingis back and healthy then they will be able to compete against the touch Clippers.
Dallas had the same record when they were home or away this year, going 21-15. Kristaps Porzingis averaged 20.9 points and 8.9 rebounds on the year in just 43 games all season. Tim Hardaway Jr. was third in scoring with 16.6 points per game, being a consistent scorer mainly off the bench.
The Mavericks will need these two guys to play well against Los Angeles, especially if they want to win these road games. Jalen Brunson and Maxi Kleber both shot over 40% from beyond the arc all year and will have to make tough shots to help out Luka. Kleber is hopeful for this series opener and should be good to go after an achilles injury.
Towards the end of the year, the Mavericks were able to secure wins against the Heat, the Nets, and Wizards, who are all playoff teams in the East. Dallas played well all year and relied on Doncic’s play and the shooting of the 3. Against the Clippers, they will have to shoot the ball well and play defense better than in the regular season.
The Clippers Need To Prove Themselves This Year
It is only the second year since Paul George and Kawhi Leonard arrived in L.A., and it already feels like time is ticking. After a disappointing loss to the Nuggets last year in the Western Conference Semifinals, the Clippers will be out for anyone in their way for this year’s playoffs. They will have to contain Luka Doncic for another first-round matchup in this postseason.
Paul George had an outstanding year, averaging 23.3 points a night, 6.6 rebounds, and 5.2 assists. George will have to have a great series so he can shake off his infamous “Playoff P” nickname. Kawhi Leonard also put up a sensational year, scoring 24.8 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 5.2 assists. These two combined together are lethal and will give the Mavericks problems.
The Clippers overall were first in 3 point percentage and free throw percentage. They have guys that can flat-out shoot and have a great defense to rely on as well. This first matchup on Saturday afternoon will be very telling about how this series will go on and who will have what it takes to advance to the second round.
Pick and Prediction
The Clippers are -5 favorites at home in this contest. Even though I love Luka Doncic, I will go ahead and take the Clippers -5. I think that their shooting will continue to be automatic, and their defense will give Luka and company fits all night.
Paul George will score 31 points, and Kawhi Leonard will add in 26. Doncic will carry the Mavs for the first three quarters and have 28 points, but it won’t be enough against the Clips.
You can watch this game on ESPN at 4:30 P.M. Eastern time.
Pick: Clippers -5