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Clippers, Mavs, 2021 NBA Playoffs

3 bold predictions for Clippers-Mavs in 2021 NBA Playoffs

The Los Angeles Clippers and Dallas Mavericks are going at it again this year in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. After what went down last year, it’s fair to say that this series could potentially be full of animosity, scrappy, riveting and one that could feature a ton of highlights.

Like last year, the Clippers are the favorites to once again win the series; however, Luka Doncic and his team may have something to say about that this time around. 

Before we get to the predictions, let’s recap what went down between these two teams in the regular season. Note that not everything that happened in the regular season can translate to the postseason. The Clippers are a different team compared to when they first faced the Mavericks (and lost by 50 points!) and so are the Mavs themselves. But it’s noteworthy to point out that Dallas indeed can keep up with the LA, especially if Doncic gets going—like he did versus the Clips in the regular season. 

Here are three predictions for the Clippers-Mavs playoff matchup: 

Expect an offensive battle

The Clippers finished this season having the third-best offensive rating in the league (116.7). The Mavs, meanwhile, finished eight (114.6) and had the best offense in history last season.

Both coaches, Ty Lue and Rick Carlisle are two of the smartest offensive coaches in the league as they know how to put their players in the right places. In this series, the Clippers clearly have more depth and offensive firepower, but that doesn’t mean the Mavericks can’t at least put up a battle against them on that end. 

In my opinion, the Mavericks still lack a third reliable scorer. Doncic is going to face tough coverages in the playoffs, especially in this series where Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are going to make life hard for him. Sure, Doncic can win the Mavs a game or two, but in order for them to at least make the series longer, guys like Tim Hardaway Jr., Dorian Finney-Smith and Maxi Kleber have to step up. 

It will be a chess match: Battle of rotations and lineups 

One aspect to watch out for in this series is how both coaches use and play around with their pieces. The Mavs finished the season by starting Hardaway along with Donic, Porzingis and Finney-Smith. Meanwhile, the Clippers will probably go with Leonard, George, Patrick Beverely, Marcus Morris Sr. and Ivica Zubac.

For the Clippers, I expect Rajon Rondo (it’s playoff version at least), Reggie Jackson and Nicolas Batum to play heavy minutes. 

The Clippers won against the Mavs in a game where the latter started Doncic, Prozingis, Richardson, Keleber and Finney-Smith. I think Hardaway’s addition to the starting lineup has become a boost for Dallas. Hardaway has been rolling in the past couple of games and could be their x-factor in this series.

Ultimately, the biggest concern for the Mavs is who they put on Leonard and George, especially when they go on a scoring run. 

Clippers in six

As fun as this series is expected to be, the Clippers might just be a little too much for the Mavs. Sure, they’ve become the laughing stock of NBA Twitter, but the Clips are better this year when it comes to x and o’s and in the leadership standpoint. They are a team that can make a deep playoff run, especially if their shooting does not betray them. 

However, this doesn’t mean the Mavs cannot take the Clips to seven games. I do see a Universe where the Mavs can stretch the series and actually win. Carlisle is an incredible coach, at least when it comes to making adjustments. The Mavs defense should be superb and Doncic must play the best basketball in his career in order to survive the Clippers.