Injuries to key players in Mavericks-Clippers series could change everything

Dallas Mavericks v Houston Rockets
Dallas Mavericks v Houston Rockets / Tim Warner/GettyImages

On Sunday, the Dallas Mavericks' regular season ended with a loss on the road to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

This was Dallas' second straight loss, as they have been resting key players in preparation for the beginning of the 2024 NBA Playoffs.

Dallas' first-round opponent is the LA Clippers, and this will be the third team in five years the Mavs have battled the Clippers in the opening round of the playoffs. Every Mavs fan can't wait to see Luka Doncic face his nemesis in the Clippers, but this series could look much different than expected.

Injuries to Kawhi Leonard and Dereck Lively II are concerning for both sides

While it looked like Dallas was catching LA at the perfect time due to Kawhi Leonard's knee injury, the Mavs have a knee injury of their own that is starting to be concerning.

Dereck Lively II sprained his knee on March 31 against the Houston Rockets, and he has not played since. There have been no updates regarding the severity of Lively II's injury, and Mavs head coach Jason Kidd said "we'll see" when asked if Lively II would be ready for game one of the playoffs.

The Mavs, just like most teams, are reserved when it comes to player injuries, but there seems to be a real possibility that Lively II will miss a playoff game. Lively II has been a huge difference-maker this season, and him missing any time could put the Mavs at a big disadvantage.

While Lively II's injury could change everything, a bigger injury in this series is Leonard's "knee inflammation."

This is the same knee that Leonard has had multiple operations on, and the uncertainty around what exactly is going wrong with his knee could be a bit concerning if you're the Clippers. Leonard remains a crucial piece to the Clippers, and the Mavs would have a much easier road to a series win if he happens to miss any time.

Leonard seemingly takes his game to the next level every year in the NBA Playoffs, and the Mavericks have seen that firsthand in 2020 and 2021.

Game one of the Mavericks-Clippers series is on Sunday at Arena.

For all the latest on both Dereck Lively II and Kawhi Leonard's injuries leading up to the highly anticipated matchup between the LA Clippers and Dallas Mavericks in the 2024 NBA Playoffs, stay tuned.