5 Reasons the Mavericks will crush the Clippers in first round of playoffs

Dallas Mavericks v Miami Heat
Dallas Mavericks v Miami Heat / Megan Briggs/GettyImages
1 of 5

Mavericks fans are buzzing with excitement, as the Dallas Mavericks are only days away from their first-round matchup versus the LA Clippers.

The Mavericks are obviously no strangers to the Clippers, as this will be the third time the two teams have played against one another in the first round within the last five seasons.

The Mavericks are hard at work preparing for this matchup, as it would be a total letdown if the Mavericks lost against the Clippers once again, especially with how well Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving, and company were playing to close the regular season.

5 Reasons the Mavericks will crush the Clippers in first round of playoffs

However, there are a lot of variables in play that are working in the Mavericks' favor heading into this series, as the Mavericks have as good of a chance as they ever have to make a deep playoff run and take care of the Clippers in round one.

With that being said, here are five reasons the Mavericks will crush the Clippers in the first round of the playoffs.

5. Mavericks' newfound size and rim presence

The Mavericks came into this season with a lot of uncertainty in regard to how strongly their big-man rotation could hold up against the rest of the league, but the emergence of rookie Dereck Lively II as well as a midseason trade that brought in Daniel Gafford has given the Mavericks the ability to stagger 48 minutes worth of rim rollers.

Due to a knee injury as well as the passing of his mother, Lively II hasn't even played since March 31 against the Houston Rockets, yet the Mavericks interior defense has remained one of the best in the league throughout this recent stretch still. This is why Dallas went out and traded for Gafford, as Lively II's knee sprain would've forced the Mavericks to overextend Maxi Kleber or Dwight Powell had it happened before the trade deadline.

With Lively II projecting to be back for the first game of the Mavs-Clippers series, Dallas will have their full complement of bigs heading into this matchup. The Mavericks didn't have two dynamic rim rollers and rim protectors like they do now with Lively II and Gafford when they last played the Clippers in the first round, and Dallas' only other talented defensive center in Kleber was often asked to guard one of Paul George or Kawhi Leonard due to the Mavericks' lack of depth at the time.

Kleber is hitting his stride at the perfect time of the season, as he's rekindled his stout interior defense as well as the ability to switch onto the perimeter. Kleber's offensive game is even starting to come along, which gives Dallas the ability to play ultra-big and put Kleber at the four if they want to.

Ivica Zubac has notoriously gotten played off the court when the Mavericks have played the Clippers because of his inability to switch onto the perimeter in pick-and-roll scenarios, but even if Zubac stands his ground, the likes of Gafford and Lively II have solid size against Zubac defensively and are far more athletic than him.

With everyone for Dallas projecting to be healthy heading into this series, they have the clear advantage in rim protection, rebounding, and athleticism from the center position versus the Clippers unless Dallas' bigs struggle to guard on the perimeter.