Luka Doncic and the Mavericks will try to break the LA Clippers’ momentum when the two teams meet in Game 5 Wednesday. (Photo by Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire)
- The LA Clippers seek their third straight win against the Dallas Mavericks in Game 5
- Luka Doncic continues to battle a neck injury that hampered him in two home losses
- Get the odds, preview, and pick below
How quickly a series can turn. The Dallas Mavericks were up 2-0 on the LA Clippers and up 30-11 at home in Game 3.
Now? It’s a 2-2 series tie, after LA dismantled the Mavericks 106-81 in Game 4. Pivotal Game 5 is on tap Wednesday night in LA, with the Clips carrying the momentum and listed as pretty heavy 7.5-point favorites.
And we still don’t know how healthy Dallas’ all-world superstar Luka Doncic will be, as he battles neck injury suffered in Game 3.
Mavericks vs Clippers Game 5 Odds
|Team||Spread at FanDuel||Moneyline||Total|
|Dallas Mavericks||+7.5 (-114)||+250||Ov 217 (-110)|
|Los Angeles Clippers||-7.5 (-106)||-310||Un 217 (-110)|
Odds as of June 1. Tip-off is Wednesday at 10pm ET
The series swung in Dallas as Luka Doncic suffered a neck injury in Game 3. He didn’t look the same in a Game 4 loss, but he’s listed as probable for Game 5. Center Maxi Kleber has been battling an Achilles injury all series, and should be a go on Wednesday.
On the Clippers, big man Serge Ibaka is still dealing with a back injury and is doubtful for Game 5.
Mavericks vs Clippers Projected Starting Lineups
|Luka Doncic||PG||Reggie Jackson|
|Tim Hardaway Jr||SG||Paul George|
|Dorian Finney-Smith||SF||Kawhi Leonard|
|Kristaps Porzingis||PF||Nicolas Batum|
|Maxi Kleber||C||Marcus Morris Sr|
LA’s Turnaround Story
Ty Lue has juggled his lineup around and the downsizing has paid dividends. No longer is Doncic seeking out that switch on Ivaca Zubac at will, and moving non-shooter Pat Beverley to the bench in favor of the more offensively polished Reggie Jackson has made the Clippers more dangerous all around.
The fact Kawhi Leonard is shooting 63% from the field in the Playoffs on this many tough shots is so insane. pic.twitter.com/gRgfDT4c1o
— Hilltop Hoops (@HilltopNBA) May 31, 2021
But perhaps nothing mattered more than LA’s two-headed star monster deciding it was time to flex.
The combination of Paul George and Kawhi Leonard was devastating in Games 3 and 4 in Dallas. They sought out their sweet spots on the court and wore out the opposition. Combined, they totaled 114 points on a crisp 41-for-66 from the field, a blistering 62% clip.
Paul George this series:
50% FG pic.twitter.com/HciXdegUk0
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) May 31, 2021
Defensively, the smaller, more nimble lineup helped put the clamps on the Mavericks, particularly in Game 4. The Clippers held Dallas to 34.8% shooting from the field in Game 4, which included an impressive 5-for-30 mark from downtown (16.7%).
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Luka Needs Help
We’ve seen so much brilliance in such a brief career that it was kind of shocking watching Doncic struggle in Game 4, as he battled that neck injury. He scored just 19 points on 9-for-24 from the field, including just 1-for-7 from downtown.
Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic’s neck strain is already being described as “improved” today with two full days off ahead of Wednesday’s Game 5 vs. Clippers, sources tell ESPN. Series is tied 2-2.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 31, 2021
In his previous three games, Doncic was unstoppable, putting up 38 points, 8.6 rebounds and nine assists per game, hitting 42-for-81 from the field (51.9%) and hitting at least five triples in each game (Doncic had 17 three-balls total).
If he’s hampered, someone will need to support the star. One obvious choice would be big man Kristaps Porzingis, who has struggled mightily in this series, averaging 15 points and four rebounds per game. He put up just nine points in Game 3 and 18 in Game 4.
Let it fly, 🦄 @AcmeBrick | #ALLIN pic.twitter.com/NNJUPZoyYN
— Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) May 31, 2021
After averaging 24.5 points across the first two games, Tim Hardaway Jr went radio silent, totaling just 16 points on 5-for-22 shooting the last two games. After hitting 11-for-17 from deep in Games 1-2, he was 0-for-4 in Game 4 and hit just four total in Dallas.
Maybe find some more time for Josh Richardson? The ex Heat and Sixer has averaged just 18.3 minutes this series, and is averaging just 6.5 points in the series.
What’s the Best Bet?
The extra day off between games can only help, and a healthy Doncic can mask a lot of the deficiencies we’ve seen from the Mavericks in the last couple of games. That alone might get his teammates those premium looks they were hitting in two wins.
The Clippers have shown good resolve to bounce back in this series, but this is far from over.
I think they’ll pull this one out, but that’s a hefty spread for a team that’s just 18-16 ATS as a home favorite this season.
Pick: Mavericks +7.5 (-114)
Having worked in and around sports since 1997, Eric is truly a knowledgeable expert. The two-time journalism grad specializes in all things NBA and NFL. From TSN.ca to CTV’s Olympic Broadcast Consortium, Eric’s work has appeared in local and national publications alike.