Key matchup in Dallas Mavericks vs. LA Clippers series: 2. KP vs. Kawhi
The Mavs had the Clippers on the ropes last season. They were ahead by five in the third quarter of Game 1 when Kristaps Porzingis was ejected for receiving his second technical foul. Dallas rolled to a 13-point victory in Game 2. Luka Doncic injured his ankle in Game 3. The only reason the Mavericks stayed in the contest was KP’s 34 points and 13 rebounds.
The Unicorn did not play another game because of a meniscus injury that forced him to have surgery in the offseason.
Porzingis looks healthy and ready to make a massive impact in the 2021 series. The Clippers are going to counter by putting Kawhi Leonard on him. No player guarded KP more in last year’s playoff series. The Clippers stuck with Leonard as the primary option on the Unicorn in the two meetings both players were healthy this season. Kawhi is an outstanding defender that makes life difficult for Porzingis.
Expect coach Carlisle to counter by using Kristaps Porzingis as more of a catch-and-shoot option. Luka Doncic will be hunting mismatches in the pick and roll. KP will get opportunities as the roll man but must score by crashing the offensive glass and getting inside too. The Mavericks need 20-plus a night from Porzingis, but it won’t be easy with Leonard guarding him.
Next: No. 1