Dallas Mavericks versus LA Clippers series preview
While facing off against two All-NBA wings is closer to a nightmare than a dream, it doesn’t spell doom for the Mavericks. Despite LA’s plethora of wing defenders, they seem to have no real answers for Luka Doncic.
Over the last nine matchups, Luka has averaged 30.8 points and an absurd 9.5 assists per game. Also encouraging is the Mavericks record in this matchup, winning two of the last three contests.
The X-factor and the biggest difference between their season series this year and last year’s playoffs is Josh Richardson. This season, Kawhi’s averaging a mediocre 21 points per game on 44 percent shooting and PG has averaged 19 points on a paltry 37 percent from the field against the Mavs.
Josh Richardson’s length and activity on defense had a massive impact on those numbers. Other than J-Rich, KP has to show up in this potential series.
The Zinger holds the biggest mismatch for Dallas when facing the Clippers. KP playing well dictates if interior defenders Serge Ibaka and Ivica Zubac can camp in the paint and make life difficult for the Mavs slashers inside.https://videos.nba.com/nba/pbp/media/2021/03/15/0022000605/27/bae79b42-09e3-24b2-0084-a052a612e8a6_1280x720.mp4
In the above clip, KP’s range stretches Zubac to the top of the key, leaving the lane wide open for Luka to go to work on Marcus Morris.
If Porzingis is lighting it up, it may force Clippers coach Ty Lue to put one of LA’s star wing defenders on him, which frees up one of the Mavs’ perimeter guys with a weaker defender.
This series is certain to be a battle. But with J-Rich now on the flanks, the Mavs acquired their best option to slow LA’s two star wings and even the playing field. At this point, it’s almost a certainty that Luka will get his numbers. If Porzingis and Richardson can fill their roles, Dallas could have a Cinderella run on their hands.
Next: Western Conference Finals