The Dallas Mavericks scored just 81 in an ugly 25-point loss to the LA Clippers in Game 4 on May 30. Luka Doncic was slowed by a neck injury and had his worst game in the series. The Clippers went small and dominated the Mavs to even the series. The question is where does Dallas go from here?
Winning the first two games in Los Angeles is a distant memory as Dallas lost the last two games on their home floor. Coach Tyronn Lue and the Clippers seem to have found their preferred rotation. They are going to play small versus the Mavericks. It allows them to switch, space the floor, and attack the rim. LA is also taking Kristaps Porzingis out of the game. He finished with just 28 minutes in Game 4, which was the second lowest among the starters.
The Unicorn has been nearly unplayable so far in the series. He averages 15.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.0 steal, and 1.0 block through four games, but those numbers do not tell the entire story. Let us take a closer look before determining if the Mavs are better off with KP on the bench against the Clippers.
Kristaps Porzingis has struggled to stay on the floor against the Clippers small ball
The Clippers have made it clear their thoughts on the Mavericks’ defense in the series. Coach Lue wants his team to attack the paint. Paul George even said after Game 3, “They don’t have a rim protector”, so do not expect LA to stop playing small and driving to the rim.
The Mavericks need Kristaps Porzingis to step up and be a deterrent in the paint. In the last two games, Dallas has a 130.8 defensive rating with KP on the floor and a negative 26.5 net rating. When Porzingis is on the bench, the Mavs defensive rating is 107.6. They have been a better defensive team all season without the Unicorn on the floor.
Let us take a look at the case for and against Kristaps Porzingis staying on the floor before deciding what the Dallas Mavericks should do heading into Game 5.
Next: Case for KP