The Dallas Mavericks traveled to southern California and stole the first two games of the series away from the Los Angeles Clippers. Luka Doncic has been red hot, and led his team to victory on Tuesday night with 39 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists.
It might be panic time for the Clippers right now, as they head to Dallas where they'll play two games on the road. In a best of seven series, this is the worst-case scenario for Los Angeles after going 0-2 at home.
Some glaring weaknesses prevented the Clippers from winning either of the first two games. With that said, here are adjustments the Clippers must make in Game 3 to get back into the series.
Slow down the Mavericks role players
The first and foremost reason for the Clippers' struggles is they seem to have no answer for the Mavericks' role players.
Luka is Luka and there isn't much anybody can do to slow him down. He's the driving force of this Mavericks team and he has no problem carrying the team on his back. However, his teammates have stepped up their game this series which has given Dallas an edge so far. On Tuesday night, Kristaps Porzingis totaled 20 points and 4 rebounds, while Tim Hardaway Jr. went for 28 points and 5 assists. On top of that Josh Richardson and Jalen Brunson scored 18 points between them.
Dallas came to play and its caught Los Angeles completely off guard. For the Clippers to get back into this series, they have to slow down the Mavericks' role players. It's a tough strategy as it'll likely leave Doncic open more often. However, his passing outlets won't be as available, forcing him to play 1-on-5 basketball. The Portland Trail Blazers used a similar strategy in game one against the Denver Nuggets, taking Nikola Jokic's teammates away from him. It worked, as Portland secured a win in the first game of that series. It could be something that works for the Clippers as well.
Improve three-point shooting
Additionally, on the other end of the court, the Clippers' three-point shooting has been putrid this series.
The Clippers just aren't hitting their shots from deep. During game two, Los Angeles shot 13/33 (39.4%) from beyond the arc. Technically they were above the league average in this one, but it's not enough if they hope to progress through the postseason.
Considering the game is played from the three-point line these days, this area is crucial for success. The Clippers have to start hitting their deep shots more frequently if they hope to at least even this series.
A consistent third scoring option
Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are doing it all for the Los Angeles Clippers. Leonard totaled 41 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists while George recorded 28 points, 12 rebounds, and 6 assists in Game 2. Outside of those two, Reggie Jackson was the only other player to score double-digit points, racking up 15 on the night.
In fact, everyone other than Leonard and George has been inconsistent during this series so far. Between Jackson's roller coaster performances, and Marcus Morris' disappearing in this matchup, the Clippers' future looks bleak. If they hope to come back and win this series, someone has to step up and help the superstars out. Otherwise, the Clippers could be going back to Los Angeles for an early vacation this year.