Things in the West will be heating up once again when the Dallas Mavericks face off against the L.A. Clippers on Wednesday night. Luka Doncic appeared in his first playoff series and set a record for most points in a debut. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to topple the Clippers.
Kawhi Leonard and Paul George teamed up to score 56-points and hold off the Dallas Mavericks 118-110. With both these teams being top competitors in the Western Conference, deciding who to place your money on can be tough. Let’s evaluate both squads and make our decision.
Dallas Mavericks Struggled After Porzingis Ejection
Nobody should get carried away thinking that if Kristaps Porzingis hadn’t been ejected in game one, the Mavericks would be guaranteed a win. His loss did hurt, though. Once Porzingis left, George and Leonard were able to capitalize on the low post and began to create a gap between the two teams. Porzingis will need to keep his emotions in check if he wants to help his team win any games against arguably the best team in the Western Conference.
Doncic did his job as always and will look to repeat his success against Patrick Beverly on Wednesday. The main concern I have for the Mavericks is their consistency against the spread. Dallas has gone 2-7 ATS in their last nine, and covering against the Clippers is no easy feat. If the Mavericks plan to have any success covering here, priority number one should be stopping the former Finals MVP, Kawhi Leonard.
L.A. Clippers Flexing Potential Championship Muscle
The Clippers are among the top-scoring teams in the NBA, but they showed off their defensive prowess in game one. L.A’s ability to keep the game’s pace under control is what will be the backbone of their success throughout the playoffs. Sure, Doncic set a scoring record for most points in a debut, but the Clippers locked up everyone else on Dallas. Only three players besides Doncic were able to score in double figures.
The Clippers are the much better team against the spread, with an overall record of 42-31. L.A. is 5-1 ATS in their last six games and the total has gone OVER in five of their previous seven. A noteworthy trend is that four of their last six games against the Mavericks have gone UNDER.
Free Betting Pick: Los Angeles Clippers -6.5, UNDER 228.5
The defenses of both teams will be on display again on Wednesday. Even with a historic game by Doncic, the total didn’t go over 228.5. Look for the Clippers to clamp down even more on the Dallas superstar and slow down the pace. Leonard and George will lead the scoring column, and Beverley will contribute more on defense, Los Angeles Clippers -6.5, UNDER.