The Dallas Mavericks dropped Game 1 of their first round playoff series against the Los Angeles Clippers by a final score of 109-97 on Sunday. Despite playing without superstar Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles found a way to earn a Game 1 victory.

The Mavs had a chance to steal a win on the road Sunday. After Tim Hardaway Jr. was made available for the game, the Mavs had their full roster ready to go. Yet, they still fell short.

It is not time to panic. The Mavericks obviously want to avoid going down 2-0 in the series, though, with Game 2 scheduled for Tuesday. Let's take a look at three adjustments Dallas must make following their frustrating Game 1 loss against the Clippers.

Do not live and die by the three-point shot

The Mavericks began the 2023-24 season by often relying on the three-point shot from an offensive standpoint. If the shots were falling, the Mavs would record a crooked number. If they were not falling, Dallas' offense would struggle for the most part.

In the second half of the season, however, the Mavericks moved away from the approach. They started scoring in different ways more consistently. Of course, Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving were always capable of scoring from anywhere on the floor, but the entire roster began finding the bottom of the net in other ways at a far more respectable rate.

Sunday's defeat was a throwback of sorts to the team's early-season offensive approach. Dallas endured an abysmal first half of the game, and they finished with just 97 points overall. The Mavericks ultimately went just 10-33 (30.3 percent) from beyond the arc.

The Clippers, meanwhile, connected on 18 of their 36 attempts (50 percent) from deep.

If the shots are falling then that is fine. But the Mavs don't want to have to rely on that approach. They need to adjust and attack the paint more. Doncic and Irving combined for 17 free throw attempts on Sunday. The rest of the roster took just 16 total free throw attempts.

Dallas is going to need more than just Kyrie and Luka to attack the paint, score near the basket, and draw fouls.

Don't let James Harden take over again

Los Angeles Clippers guard James Harden (1) signals after a 3-point basket over Dallas Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving (11) in the first half at Arena.
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Mavericks defense had some decent moments on Sunday. The Clippers were still efficient from the field, but the Mavs defense is not to blame for the loss.

Dallas was able to limit Paul George to just 22 points on 8-20 shooting (40 percent) from the floor. The Mavericks were clearly prepared for George with Leonard out.

James Harden, though, took over in the game. He led the Clippers with 28 points on 8-17 shooting (47.1 percent) from the field and 6-11 shooting (54.5 percent) from beyond the arc. Other players such as Russell Westbrook and Ivica Zubac also played well, but the Clippers probably do not win this game without Harden's big performance.

Leonard's status for Tuesday will obviously be important to monitor. Harden may not be the same player he once was, but he displayed on Sunday that he is more than capable of leading his team to a victory in the playoffs.

More all-around production from Mavericks roster

There are certainly other adjustments the team will need to make, but the final primary one comes down to all-around roster productivity.

Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic combined for 64 points in Game 1. Meanwhile, the rest of the roster scored a total of 33 points. Everyone expects Kyrie and Luka to lead the way, but Dallas needs other players to make plays on offense.

Scoring 97 points is not going to get the job done. Doncic and Irving could combine for 60-plus points in each game for the rest of the series and it will not matter if the team does not get more contributions from other players.

In fact, PJ Washington was the only other Mavericks player to score more than 10 points on Sunday, as he finished the game with 11. No one else on the Mavs finished with more than six points.

Finding offensive balance will be of the utmost importance on Tuesday.