Monday, August 17, 2020

The LA Clippers Keys to Winning Against the History-Making Dallas Mavericks

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

Even if they are struggling at times during the game, the Clippers need Kawhi and PG on the court. We've seen both of these guys have bad starts to some games and quickly catch fire throughout periods of the game and eventually take over in the 4th. The Clippers also tend to struggle without them on the floor, as and the team gets too comfortable during the game which causes them to give up a lead at times. With all the precautions the Clippers have had for Leonard in George during the regular season, there is not reason why they should be playing less than 35-40 minutes each playoff game. The Clippers need to keep at least 1 star on the court at all times.


Limit the Mavericks' threes attempted

The Mavericks have a large amount of shooters with to tag along to their record breaking offense. Seth Curry, Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr., Dorian Finney-Smith, Maxi Kleber, Luka Doncic, Delon Wright, and Kristaps Porzingis are all guys that can hit the three ball and the Clippers need to be aware of that. Since the NBA restarted, the Clippers haven't done a great job on limiting opposing teams' success form three and they really need to in this series if they want to win the series. Limiting threes also ties in with slowing the game down. Less transition threes means more two pointers which the Mavericks will need to work for, make this a gritty series (which Patrick Beverley has the ability to do).


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.







 

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