Kawhi Leonard & the Clippers begin their playoff run vs the Mavericks on Saturday afternoon. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)
- The Los Angeles Clippers are 5.5-point home favorites over the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday in Game 1 of their Western Conference first round series
- The Mavericks won two of three games against the Clippers in the regular season
- A breakdown of the Mavericks-Clippers matchup and a prediction can be found below
The Dallas Mavericks will look to take a first step toward ending a decade-long postseason drought when they visit the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 1 of their Western Conference first round series at 4:30 p.m. ET Saturday at the Staples Center.
The Mavericks have not won a playoff series since beating the Miami Heat in the 2011 Finals. Dallas has since lost in the first round five times.
The fifth-seeded Mavericks (42-30 in the regular season) won six of their last eight regular season games. However, they lost to the Timberwolves 136-121 in the finale on Sunday in Minnesota as seven-point favorites.
The fourth-seeded Clippers (47-25) lost their last two regular season games while resting top scorers Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.
Mavericks vs Clippers Odds
|Team||Moneyline at FanDuel||Spread||Total|
|Dallas Mavericks||+190||+5.5 (-110)||Over 218.5 (-110)|
|Los Angeles Clippers||-230||-5.5 (-110)||Under 218.5 (-110)|
Odds as of May 21st
DraftKings Promo for NBA Playoffs Gives Bettors Crazy 40-1 Odds on Any Team to Win
Doncic Dominant for Mavericks
If the Mavericks are to get past the first round this time, Luca Doncic will likely lead the way.
Doncic had another big season, averaging 27.7 points, 8.6 assists and eight rebounds. He was fifth in the NBA in assists and sixth in rebounds. Doncic posted 11 triple-doubles, four games with at least 40 points and 22 games with at least 30 points.
Luka mic’d up! 😂@luka7doncic and the @dallasmavs can clinch an #NBAPlayoffs berth with a win tonight vs. TOR at 9pm/et on NBA League Pass. pic.twitter.com/1FL9u8PtYJ
— NBA (@NBA) May 14, 2021
A healthy Kristaps Porzingis would help take some pressure off Doncic. Porzingis averaged 20.1 points and 8.9 rebounds but was limited to 43 games because of injuries. He had 16 double-doubles and three 30-point games.
Tim Hardaway can fill up the basket in a hurry as his 42-point game against the Detroit Pistons on April 29 attests. He finished the regular season with a 16.6 scoring average while registering five 30-point games.
The Mavericks are optimistic they might have defensive specialist Maxi Kleber back for Game 1 after he sat out the final two games of the regular season with Achilles’ soreness.
Not in Maxi Kleber’s house. 😤
📲💻: https://t.co/lZZApswzuX pic.twitter.com/ExN6QcAQ1A
— NBA (@NBA) February 13, 2020
JJ Redick (right heel soreness) has been declared out after also missing the last three regular season games.
Dallas was ninth in the NBA in offensive rating, averaging 115.4 points per 100 possessions. However, the Mavericks were 20th with a 113.0 defensive rating.
While the Mavericks played well at the end of the regular season, they were the losing side against the spread in three of their last four games.
Leonard, George Rested and Ready
The Clippers ended the regular season with a thud, losing on the road to the lowly Oklahoma City Thunder 117-112 as eight-point favorites. It also marked Los Angeles’ third straight loss ATS.
However, the duo of Leonard and George will be well rested for the playoff opener after combining for 46.1 points a game in the regular season.
Leonard led the Clippers with a 24.8 average while also posting 6.5 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 1.6 steals a game. He had 30 or more points 11 times.
📊 16 PTS / 5-9 FG / 9 AST / 1 STL
An efficient night for @kawhileonard. pic.twitter.com/UwetBJyXp4
— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) May 14, 2021
George’s averages were 23.3 points, 6.6 rebounds and 5.2 assists. He got to 30 points on 13 occasions.
Rajon Rondo gave the Clippers a much-needed playmaker after being acquired from the Atlanta Hawks at the trade deadline, averaging 5.8 assists in 18 games.
Ivica Zubac had a team-leading 7.2 rebounds a game and stepped up when Serge Ibaka was sidelined for much of the season’s second half with back problems.
The find. The flush.@kawhileonard 🤝 @ivicazubac pic.twitter.com/uP4fCp3RCI
— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) May 13, 2021
The Clippers were 10th in offensive rating (114.0) and fourth in defensive rating (107.8).
Mavs Took Season Series
The Mavericks took two of three games from the Clippers in the regular season. The underdog won each of the three.
The Mavericks blew out the Clippers 124-73 on Dec. 27 as three-point underdogs, amazingly building a 77-27 halftime lead. Doncic had 24 points, nine rebounds and eight assists for the Mavericks and Josh Richardson added 21 points.
The teams split back-to-back game in Dallas on March 15 and 17.
The Clippers won the first game 109-99 as 1.5-point dogs behind Leonard’s 22 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and four steals. The Mavericks bounced back with a 105-89 victory as 2.5-point underdogs as Doncic finished with 42 points and nine assists.
The Mavericks have shown they can hang with the Clippers this season and should at least keep Game 1 close.
- The Pick: Mavericks +5.5 (-110)
John Perrotto has been covering and writing about sports for various outlets for over 40 years. His work has appeared in the likes of USA TODAY, ESPN.com, SI.com, Forbes.com, The Associated Press, Baseball Digest, and more. John is based out of Beaver Falls, PA.