Former MVP becomes hated villain for Mavs fans amid heated playoff series

Apr 26, 2024; Dallas, Texas, USA; The NBA referees separate Dallas Mavericks forward P.J. Washington
Apr 26, 2024; Dallas, Texas, USA; The NBA referees separate Dallas Mavericks forward P.J. Washington / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Mavericks left Los Angeles with an even 1-1 series after a concerning loss in Game 1 and a tough win in Game 2. They were looking to take advantage of the series with the upcoming home games.

The Mavericks did exactly that in Game 3 with a 101-90 win, completely shutting down the LA Clippers' offense and letting their defense create easy transition buckets.

The defensive intensity from P.J. Washington, Derrick Jones Jr, and their two centers controlled the game's flow. Paul George and Kawhi Leonard couldn't find a rhythm, and the paint was too clogged and contested for them to take good shots.

Russell Westbrook becomes villain in Mavs-Clippers series

It was clear Former NBA MVP Russell Westbrook was getting frustrated on both ends of the floor. Westbrook couldn't get anything going on offense, scoring just one point and Luka Doncic served him a three-course meal any time he guarded him.

At a certain point in the game, Westbrook let the frustration get to him causing a scuffle which led to his first playoff ejection.

"Always got to protect 77 at all costs."

P.J. Washington

There were multiple instances in this game where Westbrook made reckless and questionable plays. This allowed fans to begin booing at the former MVP, deeming him as the new villain in this rivalry.

Westbrook and Doncic chirped the entire game, and Washington unquestionably had Luka's back the moment the scuffle started. We're seeing P.J. become an enforcer for this team, trying to protect the guys.

The defensive tenacity of these teams is the story of the series; the Mavericks eclipsed 100 points for the first time all series and finished with 101 points in Game 3. It may seem odd for a team averaging 118 points a game to be up 2-1, but this shows you how big the defense has been.

The Mavericks look to swing the series in their favor by completing the home-court sweep on Sunday. It'll be interesting to see what adjustments the Clippers make, and the intensity they come out with.

For more updates on P.J. Washington and the Dallas Mavericks, stay tuned.