Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers will be looking to dig themselves out a 2-0 hole against the Dallas Mavericks on Friday night. (Photo by PI/Zuma Press/Icon Sportswire)
- The Clippers will be looking to climb out of a 2-0 hole on the road against the Mavericks
- LA lost both games at the Staples Center due to lights-out shooting from Dallas
- Get the odds, injury report, preview, and pick below
After heading into the 2021 playoffs as a favorite to come out of the Western Conference, the Los Angeles Clippers are already in trouble. Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks went to work on them in the first two contests of this series, grabbing back-to-back crucial wins on the road.
Now, the Mavs head back home on Friday, May 28th for Game 3 against the Clippers. Tip-off is scheduled for 9:30pm ET. Kawhi Leonard dropped an impressive 41 points on Tuesday night while Paul George had 28, but it wasn’t enough. Doncic erupted for 39 as his playoff dominance continues, while Kristaps Porzingis and Tim Hardaway Jr complemented the Slovenian brilliantly.
Clippers vs Mavericks Odds
|Team||Spread||Moneyline||Total at FanDuel|
|Los Angeles Clippers||-2.5 (-106)||-134||Ov 219 (-110)|
|Dallas Mavericks||+2.5 (-114)||+114||Un 219 (-110)|
Odds as of May 27th.
Both teams have relatively healthy squads for Friday. The Clippers have Serge Ibaka listed as questionable due to back spasms. He played limited minutes in the first two games of the series and it looks as he’ll likely be a game-time decision here.
For Dallas, JJ Reddick (heel) is out for the entire first round. German big man Maxi Kleber (Achilles) fought through the injury for Games 1 and 2, but he is questionable in this one. Expect Dwight Powell to slide into the starting lineup if Kleber in fact misses out.
Clippers vs Mavericks Projected Lineups
|Luka Doncic||PG||Patrick Beverley|
|Tim Hardaway Jr||SG||Paul George|
|Dorian Finney-Smith||SF||Kawhi Leonard|
|Kristaps Porzingis||PF||Marcus Morris|
|Dwight Powell||C||Ivica Zubac|
Mavs Shooting Lights Out
The Clippers have had literally no answer for Dallas so far, with Doncic being the catalyst. It hasn’t mattered who they put on the Mavs star, he’s cooking everyone. They tried initially putting PG on him in the first half in Game 2, but Doncic was scoring at will. Second half? Leonard, who is known for his defensive prowess, tried to contain him but to no avail.
The 22-year-old shot 55.2% from the field, but he wasn’t the only one draining buckets at an insane clip.
Dallas as a team was 18-for-34 from deep and shot 58% from field goal range. Doncic, Porzingis, and Hardaway combined for 87 of the Mavericks’ 127 points on Tuesday as well. Luka needed just 39 individual possessions to rack up all his points, which is impressive in itself.
Keep in mind, the Clips are one of the best defensive clubs in the Association and they’re actually very good at limiting the three-ball. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case so far.
Supporting Cast Needs to Step up For LA
Leonard and George have been doing all the heavy lifting offensively. On Tuesday, the superstar duo both showed out, but only one other player in the lineup had double-digit points and that was Reggie Jackson.
It was ultimately the third quarter that really hurt LA, getting outscored 30-19 after heading into halftime with the lead. From a defensive standpoint, there have also been just way too many good looks for their opponents. The Clippers have tried double-teaming Doncic, but then it’s opened up shooters around him.
Dallas catching fire like this from downtown isn’t sustainable, though. Los Angeles needs to tighten it up and make the Mavs attempt the tough shots. If they make them, so be it. But right now, that should be the focus. Ty Lue’s squad also needs to slow down Dallas from the tip because they’ve come out of the gates firing in both of these games so far, and it’s set the tone for the rest of the night.
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Shooting close to 60% overall isn’t going to last. The Mavs are going to have a cold night and I think it will be on Friday. This Clippers team is far too talented on both ends to lose three straight games. After all, that bitter taste is still in their mouths from a shocking exit in last year’s postseason.
Don’t get me wrong, Doncic has been making some very difficult shots. There’s no doubt he’s probably going to have another big game, but the supporting cast won’t play at the same level in Game 3. LA will clean it up defensively and cover the spread with an important win on the road.
Pick: Los Angeles Clippers -2.5 (-106)
Quinn Allen is a sports journalist, with a background and education in broadcast journalism (BCIT ’17). He writes about European Football, Basketball, and Baseball for numerous sites across the globe.