It's time for Jason Kidd to make inevitable change in Mavericks' starting lineup

Mar 25, 2024; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Dallas Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd calls for a
Mar 25, 2024; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Dallas Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd calls for a / Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

With Game 3 looming just around the corner, the Dallas Mavericks could be poised to win their second consecutive game against the LA Clippers and take a dominant 2-1 series lead. In Game 2, the Mavericks won a gutsy 96-93 defensive battle on the Clippers' home floor.

The Mavericks capitalized on a Clippers squad that struggled to get any offensive rhythm going after superstar Kawhi Leonard appeared in his first game since March 31. Late in the fourth, the Mavericks would take a convincing nine-point lead, which was led by a barrage of Luka Doncic and P.J. Washington 3-point shots.

This nine-point lead would carry the Mavericks to their first win of the series, and it proved why the Mavericks have yet to unlock their full potential against the Clippers.

Jason Kidd should start Dereck Lively II over Daniel Gafford

One way the Mavericks can help unlock their full potential is by placing Dereck Lively II in the starting lineup in place of Daniel Gafford.

While Gafford has been amazing for the Mavericks in the last 20 games of the regular season, the playoffs have proven to be a different animal. Through two games, Gafford has only managed to play for a total of 21 minutes while only scoring three points and grabbing a singular rebound in his time on the floor.

Despite struggling through the first two games of the series, Gafford is now dealing with back spasms, and his availability for Game 3 looks to be in question. Luckily for the Mavericks, they have Lively II who has played fantastic for Dallas since coming back from a lengthy knee injury.

In Game 2, Lively II proved to be an Ivica Zubac deterrent after matching his physicality and outrebounding the Croatian center when on the floor. Additionally, Lively II proved to be much more dynamic on the offensive end by getting to the foul line six times in Game 2 alone.

The Clippers have done a fantastic job throughout this series to stop the Mavericks from getting into their pick-and-roll sets. However, Lively II has still managed to get his fingerprints on the ball by either camping in the dunker spot or creating second-chance points for the Mavs. In Game 2, Lively II had multiple offensive rebounds, which proved to be a difference-maker throughout the fourth quarter.

The Clippers have done a great job of matchup-hunting all series long, and in doing so, they have gotten Lively II stuck on the perimeter multiple times. This has not only helped the Mavericks, but throughout Game 2, Lively II proved to be a capable perimeter defender when guarding the likes of James Harden and other Clippers guards.

For more updates on Dereck Lively II and the Dallas Mavericks' playoff series against the LA Clippers, stay plugged in.