The NBA Playoffs are underway and the 2nd seed Los Angeles Clippers are set to face the 7th seed Dallas Mavericks. While the Mavericks are the 7th seed, they play much better being led by Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis and their list of high quality shooters. The Clippers are 3-0 against the Mavericks so far this year, but those games were closer than most think and this series will be very close and could go to 6 or even 7 games. The Clippers have to plan carefully for this fiery Mavericks offense as they statistically have the most efficient offense in NBA history with an offensive rating of 115.9 points per 100 possessions (beating last seasons Warriors team who had 115.0 points per 100 possessions). Here are the Clippers' keys to winning this series.
Slow the games down, control the pace
Teams that have great offenses generally play very fast and hit a lot of threes. The Mavericks are one of those teams. The Clippers are known for their defensive beasts in Paul George, Patrick Beverley, Kawhi Leonard, and Marcus Morris. They are all players that can guard almost every position. The Clippers have to slow Dallas down, especially on the fast break, and force the Mavericks to work for every point which will slow the whole game down. Make the Mavericks play at the Clippers pace and control the game.
Always have Kawhi Leonard or Paul George on the floor
Limit the Mavericks' threes attempted
Prioritize underrated key players
The last key for the Clippers to win in this serious is to prioritize their underrated players. Many may not realize this, but JaMychal Green the biggest piece for the Clippers to come out on top. We saw his ability to hit shots and play great defense last year in the series against Golden State (who had the record for most efficient offense at the time). In the bubble, Green has played great defense on guys bigger than him which is very useful for the Clippers as Ivica Zubac has been in some foul trouble and Montrezl Harrell has yet to play. Green is also shooting over 50% from three in the bubble so the Clippers need to keep him in the loop as he's had very solid play recently and plays well against fast-paced, three point shooting teams. The Clippers also have to make sure Ivica Zubac gets 4th quarter minutes and the Clippers struggle to rebound late in the game. Patrick Beverley is also a key player that needs a lot of playing time as he sparks most of the energy for the team. Lastly, the team needs to find Landry Shamet and he needs to hit his shots because he can catch fire easily and give the Clippers a very nice run at times.
Game 1 is tonight at 6 PM PT. Montrezl Harrell (quarantine), Patrick Beverley (calf), and Landry Shamet (foot) are all playing.
The time is now. pic.twitter.com/kvGwtYiQKf— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) August 17, 2020