3 teams the Dallas Mavericks must avoid in the first round of the playoffs

Golden State Warriors v Dallas Mavericks
Golden State Warriors v Dallas Mavericks / Tim Heitman/GettyImages
2 of 4

3. LA Clippers

The LA Clippers are no stranger to Luka Doncic and the Mavericks, as we all know the result of when Dallas faced off against the Clippers during the first round of the 2020 and 2021 NBA playoffs. This current Clippers team trumps those Clippers teams from a few years back in regards to their depth and consistency, so the Mavericks will need to do everything possible to avoid the current number four seed in the Western Conference.

The Clippers have a plethora of lengthy wings to throw at the likes of Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving, and they also have the ability to play small-ball against Dallas given their substantial amount of positional size. The Mavericks went 1-2 against the Clippers during the regular season, though Dallas' one win came shortly after the Clippers traded for James Harden at the beginning of the season in a game where it was clear that the Clippers still hadn't fully synchronized together on offense with their new piece at the time.

Harden is the wild card that the Clippers didn't have in past playoff matchups against Dallas, as he is the true stabilizer and initiator of the Clippers' offense, something they severely lacked the past few seasons. The Clippers playmaking and defense across the board gives them a ton of lineup variability that they can exercise during the playoffs, so no Western Conference team including the Mavericks should be signing up to play them in the first round.

Luckily the Clippers are currently the fourth seed, and there's a decent gap between them and seeds three and five in the West respectively, so Dallas doesn't project to match up with them in the first round as things currently stand unless they pass up the fifth-seeded Pelicans (currently 1.5 games behind).