Los Angeles Clippers vs Dallas Mavericks NBA Playoffs Preview
Preview, Prediction and Picks
The odds shifted dramatically in favor of the Dallas Mavericks heading into Game 3 of their Western Conference first-round playoff series against the visiting Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night.
The Mavericks won the first two games of the best-of-seven series, putting them in first place to advance to the conference semifinals for the first time since winning the NBA title in 2011.
NBA teams that took a 2-0 best-of-seven lead have advanced 93.7% of the time in league history.
That statistic means little to Dallas head coach Rick Carlisle. He just wants the Mavericks to maintain the level of play they have shown in the first two games.
The Clippers are doing their best to stay calm, despite losing their field advantage in the series on Sunday and then digging into a deeper hole Tuesday.
Los Angeles must begin by finding an answer for Luka Doncic.
The 22-year-old forward scored a triple-double in Game 1 with 31 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists in a 113-103 victory.
He came back with 39 points in Game 2 on 16 of 29 shooting from the field and also contributed seven rebounds and seven assists.
Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 28 points in the final game and Kristaps Porzingis finished with 20.
Dorian Finney-Smith contributed 18 points in Game 1 and Jalen Brunson had 15 off the bench.
As a team, the Mavericks shot 50 percent from the ground in Game 1, including 17-on-36 3-pointers, and Dallas was even sharper in Game 2, shooting 18-34 from deep and 58.5 percent from. above.
The Clippers got their money's worth from their stars, offensively at least.
Kawhi Leonard is coming off a 41-point performance and George scored 28, both scoring more than half of their shots.
Leonard also had 26 points and 10 rebounds in Game 1, and George had 23, close to his regular season average (23.3).
Leonard, who won an NBA title with the San Antonio Spurs in 2014 and the Toronto Raptors in 2019, said the key as Game 3 approaches is to "stay level."
The Clippers still haven't turned things around after losing their last two regular-season games to non-playoff teams. Those losses brought Los Angeles to fourth place in the West and secured its game against fifth-seeded Dallas.
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