The Clippers have been considered one of the Western Conference’s best teams since they signed SG Kawhi Leonard. Unfortunately, their play in the playoffs since then has been underwhelming. They’ve lost two straight games to the Dallas Mavericks so far, both of which were home games, and are now in danger of starting the series 0-3.
Now, they’ll travel to Dallas to face a team that has had their number over the course of the last two games. With no real solution to stop Luka Doncic, the Clippers have to go back to the drawing board on Friday.
Widely considered as the future of the NBA, Luka Doncic has taken a Kobe Bryant reminiscent role in this series. Regardless of who the Clippers have assigned to Doncic, Luka comes out the victor. With Dallas in a prime position to take a 3-0 lead, all the cards lie in the hands of the Slovenian phenom.
What can the Clippers do to ensure a win on Friday?
Considering that stopping Luka Doncic seems out of the question, it’s time for the Clippers to up their offensive output. Defensively, they were considered one of the best in the league, but the playoff version of the Clippers is much different. Finding a way to get their best shooters more looks from beyond the arc might be the only way the Clippers can win here.
The spread in this game is quite small, with the Clippers being only two-point underdogs. The good news for some is that Los Angeles actually performs quite well on the road. Through the season, they had a 21-15 road record, going 18-17-1 against the spread.
PF Serge Ibaka could potentially play on Friday against the Mavericks, giving them a big body to put against Kristaps Porzingis.
The Mavericks are red hot heading back home
The Mavericks are getting hot at the right time, winning two road games before heading back to Dallas. The young superstars of the league like Luka Doncic have shown just how ready they are to take over the NBA and transform it into something new. They won’t be able to rest just yet, though; the Clippers are known to lull teams into a false sense of security.
Dallas has done well so far to neutralize Kawhi Leonard, but they can’t always count on Leonard having an off night. They’ll have to pressure him into poor looks at the basket, and if Ibaka is back in the lineup, they’ll need to guard the perimeter well.
As a team that was lackluster against the spread during the season, the Mavericks have been impressive lately, going 7-3 ATS in their last ten games.
Who to take on Friday? Dallas Mavericks -2
Riding the hot hand back home with a roaring crowd behind you couldn’t be a better situation for the Mavericks here. The Clippers have tried multiple different schemes to stop Doncic, all to no avail. Look for Doncic to have another great game, getting the win for Dallas and covering the spread, Dallas Mavericks -2.