Why the Mavericks still haven't unlocked their full potential vs. Clippers

Dallas Mavericks v Los Angeles Clippers - Game Two
Dallas Mavericks v Los Angeles Clippers - Game Two / Harry How/GettyImages

The Dallas Mavericks are just over 24 hours away from Game 3 of their first-round matchup against the LA Clippers, as the Mavericks were able to win a gritty Game 2 to even up the series at 1-1 before heading back to Dallas.

The Mavericks were tasked with playing more physical defensively in Game 2 after getting pummeled inside by Ivica Zubac in Game 1, and the Mavericks did a great job of responding by being immensely more physical in Game 2.

The Mavericks will need to carry their defensive intangibles with them for the rest of the series, as the Clippers will inevitably make some adjustments to try and mix it up more on offense, especially as Kawhi Leonard continues to get re-acclimated into their lineup. The Mavericks won their first contest of the season when scoring less than 100 points in their Game 2 victory, which goes to highlight how much the Mavericks defense has improved since the trade deadline.

Mavericks haven't unlocked their full potential vs. Clippers due to poor shooting

However, while finding different ways to win is crucial in a playoff environment, the Mavericks still have one crucial area that they could drastically improve upon if they want to unlock their true potential in this first-round series versus the Clippers. This of course stems from the fact that the Mavericks still haven't shot the 3-ball well whatsoever through two games against the Clippers in these playoffs, as the Mavericks are shooting a combined 36.3 percent from downtown as a team through two playoff contests.

This number isn't eye popping at first glance, as it's not a wildly different percentage compared to what Dallas shot from outside during the regular season. However, the Mavericks role players in specific haven't connected on their outside shots at the same rate that they did during the regular season, nor have they taken 3-pointers at the same volume through two games against the Clippers.

Mavericks players not named Luka Doncic or Kyrie Irving have shot just 8-26 from 3-point range in two playoff games, which clocks in at an abysmal 30.8 percent through two contests. This development could easily be attributed to the Mavericks' playoff inexperience as well as being on the road the first two games of the series, as the playoffs present an entirely different level of intensity compared to the regular season.

However, the Mavericks role players can't let their confidence continue to falter if this is the case, as there are a lot of variables still at play in this playoff series. The Mavericks would be doing themselves a huge favor if some of their role players can start connecting on some outside shots semi-consistently like we saw at the tail end of Game 2, as Maxi Kleber and P.J. Washington made some timely 3-pointers down the stretch of that contest.

With Tim Hardaway Jr. being injured and out of the lineup for potentially multiple games in this series with an ankle sprain suffered in Game 2, the likes of Josh Green, Derrick Jones Jr., and Dante Exum need to exhibit some more confidence shooting the rock at the very least in this series.

Hopefully, Washington and Kleber can continue some of their momentum into Game 3 as well, as role players tend to shoot far better in front of their home crowd during the playoffs.

For more on the Dallas Mavericks ahead of Game 3, stay tuned as we will have you covered.