Biggest question heading into Dallas Mavericks vs. LA Clippers series: 3. Can Mavs slow down Kawhi?
During the 2020 playoff series against the Mavs, Kawhi Leonard averaged 32.8 points, 10.2 rebounds, 5.2 assists, and 2.3 steals in 39.1 minutes per game. The 6’7 forward shot 53.8 percent from the field and 85.5 percent on his free throws.
Dallas must do a better job on Leonard in this series if they want to pull the upset. Maxi Kleber’s injury leaves the Mavericks in a difficult position. They will have to play Dorian Finney-Smith on Kawhi and use Tim Hardaway Jr. and Josh Richardson to check Paul George. Leonard will have a strength advantage against Doe-Doe, but the Mavs must contest every shot and force misses.
Dallas did better against Leonard in the two meetings during the regular season. He averaged 21.0 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 7.0 assists a night on just 43.9 percent from the field and 57.1 percent on his free throws.
It will be an entirely different ball game in the playoffs. Kawhi will be locked in and ready to lead the Clippers on a run. Can Dallas slow him down? The answer will be one of the keys to their first-round series.
Next: No. 2