The Western Conference has a number of playoff matchups in the first round that you wouldn't expect to see until deeper into the NBA postseason. Perhaps no series is more highly anticipated than the Los Angeles Clippers vs. Dallas Mavericks series. The two teams, who are seeded fourth and fifth, have had some epic playoff duels in recent seasons, and in this article, we will explain everything that you need to know about their matchup this go around.

Where is Clippers vs. Mavericks?

The Clippers only finished one game ahead of the Mavericks in the standings, but it was enough to secure home-court advantage in the first round. That means Games 1 and 2 will be at Arena in Los Angeles, California, as will Games 5 and 7 if the series goes that far. The Mavericks will host Games 3, 4, and 6 at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.

How to watch Clippers vs. Mavericks

Game 1: Mavericks @ Clippers: Sunday, April 21 at 3:30 p.m. ET – ABC

Game 2: Mavericks @ Clippers: Tuesday, April 23 at 10 p.m. ET – TNT

Game 3: Clippers @ Mavericks: Friday, April 26 at 8 p.m. ET – ESPN

Game 4: Clippers @ Mavericks: Sunday, April 28 at 3:30 p.m. ET – ABC

Game 5: Mavericks @ Clippers: Wednesday, May 1

Game 6: Clippers @ Mavericks: Friday, May 3

Game 7: Mavericks @ Clippers: Sunday, May 5

Clippers storylines

Kawhi Leonard of the Clippers vs. Derrick Jones Jr. of the Mavericks
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

For years, the Clippers have had a core that seemed destined to make a deep run in the postseason, but the injury bug always bit at the wrong time, and they always came up short. This might be the year they finally break out, but injury concerns are still prevalent. Both players should be active in the series, but James Harden is dealing with a foot problem, and Kawhi Leonard is having knee issues.

Getting past the first round won't be easy, regardless, but the team will be taking on a team that they beat in the playoffs in two of the last four seasons. Leonard played at an MVP level for much of the season. The recently announced 12th member of Team USA basketball is one of the best postseason players in the NBA. He always turns his game up a notch in the playoffs, and his mid-range shot and elite defense are tailor-made for postseason basketball.

Leonard is just one of the big names on the Clippers, though. His partner in crime for the last few seasons has been Paul George, a silky smooth wing that can hit any shot. George has been a superstar in the NBA for a long time, but he will want to shake the label of being a playoff choker that he has gained in recent seasons.

Additionally, the Clippers employ two former MVP guards in Russell Westbrook and Harden. Neither are the player they once were, but Westbrook has thrived coming off of the bench and Harden is still one of the elite playmakers in the league.

Mavericks storylines

Clippers' James Harden guarded by Mavericks players in the 2023-24 regular season
Kevin jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Mavericks have been hot as of recently, and that bodes well for their postseason outlook. Dallas won 16 of their last 20 games to end the regular season, and their final two losses came in games where they rested Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving. The Doncic and Irving pairing has looked unstoppable as of late and the trade deadline acquisitions the team added have fit in seamlessly.

Excluding the Mavericks' last two losses, the team has had the fifth-best defense since the NBA trade deadline. They are outscoring teams by 8.4 points per 100 possessions. The improvement on that end is good to see, considering that was critics concern about the team coming into the year.

PJ Washington and Daniel Gafford have thrived since joining the team. Both help out on defense but have benefited in a big way by receiving passes from Doncic on the offensive end.

Dallas has surrounded their star-studded backcourt with three-point threats and play-finishers who can hold their own on the other end, and it has worked. Now, fans will wait and see if the Mavericks style will translate to postseason success.

The 2020 and 2021 playoff series between the Clippers and Mavericks were some of the most exciting series of those respective postseasons. This year is sure to be a thriller too. Will the Mavericks finally be able to get past Los Angeles, or will the Clippers prove that they have the Mavericks number?