Los Angeles Clippers vs Dallas Mavericks: Round 1, Free Picks, Odds & Predictions

Los Angeles Clippers vs Dallas Mavericks NBA Playoffs Round 1
Los Angeles Clippers vs Dallas Mavericks, Western Conference Quarterfinals

Kawhi Leonard took over Game 6 in critical points to help lead the Los Angeles Clippers past the Dallas Mavericks and into the second round. Leonard finished with 33 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists, leading four scorers in double figures for the Clippers. They needed all of that offense to overcome another monster game from Luka Doncic, who had 38 points, nine rebounds and nine assists for the Mavericks. Los Angeles shot 48 percent from the field to help keep Dallas at arm’s length, but Paul George was back to being inefficient with his offense, which is a problem moving forward.

Los Angeles Clippers win 4-2

Before we talk about the team advancing, it’s hard not to come away impressed with Luka Doncic from this series. Doncic is just the fifth NBA player ever to average at least 30 points, eight rebounds and eight assists per game in a playoff series, joining a list that consists of LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, Michael Jordan and Oscar Robertson. He did everything he could to will the Mavericks into the second round, but Kawhi Leonard was simply too much for Dallas to handle. Leonard did a brunt of the work with various players like Reggie Jackson or Lou Williams stepping up to help push Los Angeles over the top. As they advance to the next round, the Clippers will need more production from Paul George, who had one good offensive game among the six he played in this series. His success will go a long way to helping determine how far Los Angeles goes in this postseason.

Game 1

August 17th, 9 p.m., AdventHealth Arena

The matchup between the Los Angeles Clippers and Dallas Mavericks is probably the biggest mismatch among the four Western Conference series. The second-seeded Clippers continued to improve as their roster returned to normal over the course of the restart, while the Mavericks failed to impress in their games against the better teams in the NBA. Now Dallas has a stiff test as the No. 7 seed and should use these games as a learning experience for the young core it is trying to build.

The Clippers’ monstrous duo of Paul George and Kawhi Leonard looked to be in midseason form in the bubble as they combined to average more than 54 points per game. Since the season resumed, Los Angeles has looked every bit the title contender it is led by that duo and complemented by a strong supporting cast. After missing the first two games while quaranting after leaving the bubble, Lou Williams worked himself back into the form that earned him Sixth Man of the Year the past two seasons with his points and assists total rising in each of his last three games.

Dallas has its own dynamic pair of scorers in Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, but the complementary players around them have been inconsistent. Tim Hardaway Jr. has four 20-point games in the bubble, but he scored in single digits in the other four games since the restart. Trey Burke exploded for 31 points in the first game against Houston then averaged just 9.3 points and shot 36.4 percent from the field in the next seven games. The Mavericks need their role players to step up and take pressure off the two stars or it will be a quick series.

As should be expected, the Clippers are heavy favorites to move past the Mavericks and do so in quick fashion. The New Jersey online sports betting sites believe Los Angeles will win the series in five games, but it wouldn’t be shocking for the Clippers to simply sweep the Mavericks. Los Angeles won the regular-season matchup in the bubble with Dallas by 15 points, and while I don’t expect the games in this series to be that lopsided, it’s hard to fathom Dallas overcoming that gap with its current roster. Bet on Los Angeles to make quick work of the Mavericks at +440 odds to sweep Dallas.

Los Angeles is roughly a 5.5-point favorite in Game 1, and that seems a bit too low for this title contender. The Clippers’ depth of scoring combined with a rested George and Leonard means they should be able to win the opening game by closer to double digits. To be safe, I’d suggest taking the Clippers giving 7.5 points at +120 odds to help make some more money as opposed to the -235 you can bet on the moneyline.

BET ON LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS TO WIN

Game 2 (Los Angeles Clippers lead 1-0)

August 19th, 9 p.m., AdventHealth Arena

The Los Angeles Clippers won the game, but the biggest story out of Monday’s opener was the play of Luka Doncic. The Dallas Mavericks guard set an NBA record with 42 points in his postseason debut and almost singlehandedly kept Dallas in the game after Kristaps Porzingis was ejected in the third quarter. He also handed out nine assists and grabbed seven rebounds, though his 11 turnovers were a big problem for Dallas

Los Angeles survived Doncic on the backs of their two superstars – Paul George and Kawhi Leonard – both of whom scored at least 27 points in the victory. Leonard looked especially comfortable in the first game of the NBA postseason, scoring a team-high 29 points, grabbing a team-best 12 rebounds and distributing a team-best six assists. The other Clippers didn’t seem to have any rust, either as Marcus Morris scored 19 points and had four steals, and Ivica Zubac had 10 points and 10 rebounds to go with a pair of blocks.

Doncic’s big splash was sullied by the loss and Porzingis’ ejection, which really hurt the Mavericks in the game. Although Porzingis wasn’t shooting the ball well, he had scored 14 points in 19 minutes by working his way to the free throw line and also recorded six rebounds. Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 18 points in Porzingis’ absence, but no other Mavericks player was able to exceed Porzingis’ offensive production as they search for a complementary scorer to Doncic and Porzingis.

It took a heroic effort from Doncic to keep Game 1 competitive, and I’m not sure having Porzingis by his side will take any pressure off him. Doncic is going to have to play beyond great to give Dallas a chance, and even then, it’ll be a tall task without more support around him. The Clippers are starting to look like a well-oiled machine again, and the fact they are listed at -230 odds to win Game 2 by the New Jersey online sports betting sites is even more reason to believe Los Angeles has turned a corner. I like the fact the Clippers are only 5.5-point favorites over the Mavericks at -110 odds because it gives the bet a little more payoff without adding too much more risk, so that’s the play for me.

BET ON LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS TO WIN

Game 3

August 21st, 9 p.m., AdventHealth Arena

Luka Doncic could only muster 28 points in his second playoff game, but it was enough to lead the Dallas Mavericks to a series-tying win over the Los Angeles Clippers. Kawhi Leonard scored 35 points to lead all scorers, but he didn’t get as much support from his teammates as Doncic. Dallas was able to run the Clippers off the 3-point line while also being efficient on offense itself to even the series through two games.

It was the role players that lifted Dallas to this victory even though Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis were very good in the game. Trey Burke, Seth Curry and Boban Marjanovic all scored in double figures while shooting a combined 68 percent from the field, but they also all made other small contributions that didn’t appear in the stat sheet. Their presence opened up the floor for Doncic and Porzingis, or in Marjanovic’s case, his screens helped the Mavericks offense run when he was on the floor.

It was a rough shooting night for Paul George – who made just four of his 17 shots, including just 2-of-10 from behind the arc — and that led to the Clippers struggling as a team. Los Angeles made just 29.4 percent of its 3-point attempts as a team. Lou Williams tried to pick up the slack with 23 points and Leonard was his normally effective self, but 13 of his points came at the free-throw line as he wasn’t as efficient as normal from the floor. The offensive woes overshadowed the defensive struggles that allowed Dallas to shoot 50 percent from the floor in the game.

For me, wagering on Game 3 boils down to figuring out whether I want to bet on Dallas’ role players to continue playing well or Paul George to have a bounce-back game. I’m more likely going to trust George to respond in a big way in Game 3, which would overshadow the Mavericks’ team basketball. Los Angeles isn’t as big of a favorite at the New Jersey online sports betting sites. as I thought they would be, but the Clippers are still listed at -215 on the moneyline. I’ll try to add a little more to my payout by shrinking the odds down to -110 and take Los Angeles to lay the five points as well.

BET ON LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS TO WIN

 

Game 4 (Los Angeles Clippers lead 2-1)

August 23rd, 3:30 p.m., AdventHealth Arena

The big news is the health of Luka Doncic’s ankle, but it was the Los Angeles Clippers who took advantage for an important win over the Dallas Mavericks. The Clippers were efficient on offense to hide another shaky defensive performance as the Mavericks still made more than half of their shots. Dallas’ scoring just came from different sources than normal while the Clippers rallied around Kawhi Leonard’s 36 points to win.

Los Angeles had seven players in double figures, led by Leonard who was the only one to eclipse 20 points. The Clippers shot 52.2 percent from the floor despite Paul George making just 3 of 16, another proof of how well the Clippers have built their roster. Landry Shamet was able to pick up the scoring slack from George with 18 points on 7-of-13 shooting, but George still had seven assists and nine rebounds to aid in the effort. Montrezl Harrell and Lou Williams once again made big contributions off the bench as well as Los Angeles is starting to round into primetime form in these playoffs.

Dallas’ best hope in this series is that Seth Curry and Tim Hardaway Jr. continue to score in bunches for the Mavericks. Curry had 22 points on 9-of-11 shooting in 30 minutes off the bench and Hardaway scored 22 points on 9-of-19 shooting. Those two complemented Kristaps Porzingis’ 34 points well and helped hide the fact Doncic only scored 13 points in 29 minutes while dealing with the ankle injury. The ankle didn’t stop Doncic from being helpful in other ways, though, as he posted 10 rebounds and 10 assists.

The New Jersey online sports betting sites have wisely held off supplying odds on this game until the health of Doncic’s ankle is determined. No matter the severity, though, Doncic won’t be at 100 percent the rest of this series and that is a tough reality for Dallas to overcome in this series. We’ve seen how deep the Clippers are in terms of scoring and the Mavericks cannot match that. Dallas’ best chance at pulling off upsets was having Doncic and Porzingis work as a team, and that is now too big of a challenge. The Clippers should win Game 4 behind another strong effort from Leonard complemented by the talented players around him.

BET ON LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS TO WIN

 

Game 5 (Series tied 2-2)

August 25th, 9 p.m., AdventHealth Arena

Luka Doncic stole the show for the Dallas Mavericks with Kristaps Porzingis out of the lineup, and rode a 43-point triple-double to an improbable win over the Los Angeles Clippers. The guard also had 13 assists and 17 rebounds in the game as he powered the Mavericks by himself in the final minute of overtime. Los Angeles was led by Lou Willams’ 36 points and 32 from Kawhi Leonard, but it had no answer for how to slow down Doncic when it mattered most.

Doncic did it all for the Mavericks in the final minute of overtime to win the game for Dallas. He hit the floater to tie the game, he grabbed the defensive rebound at the other end then drove the lane for a layup to give Dallas a lead. After the Clippers answered with a 3 to take a one-point lead, Doncic drained the winning shot with a hand in his face, making it look routine as it left his hands. Trey Burke was spectacular for Dallas as well with 25 points on 10-of-14 shooting, but Doncic was the story of the game and will continue to be for the Mavericks.

The Clippers have been undone in this series by Paul George’s poor shooting, which has prevented Los Angeles from taking that next step. George scored just nine points on 3-of-14 shooting in 45 minutes on the court, dropping his shooting average in the series to 29 percent. That just won’t cut it against a Dallas squad that is playing inspired basketball at the moment, and George admitted as much postgame. Now the question is how do the Clippers get George more confidence on offense so that they can become that much more difficult for the Mavericks to defend.

Your guess is as good as mine when it comes to who will win the pivotal Game 5 in this series. Leonard and Williams have been excellent in this series for the Clippers, but Doncic is a game-changer and has consistently proved he can win games in this series by himself. If Porzingis returns to the lineup Tuesday, it’ll be a big boost for Dallas, but if not, Dallas’ role players have looked ready to contribute. It’ll be tight, so the Clippers being 6.5-point favorites according to the New Jersey online sports betting sites is hard to fathom. Instead, I’ll take Dallas straight up at +215 odds to take a hold of this series with a close win in Game 5.

BET ON DALLAS MAVERICKS TO WIN

Game 6

August 27th, 9 p.m., AdventHealth Arena

Paul George was back to his normal self, and the Los Angeles Clippers looked like a title contender once again against the Dallas Mavericks. George’s newfound focus sparked his team to pull out to a massive lead and the Mavericks never came close to closing that deficit the rest of the way. The wing made 12 of his 18 shots in the game to lead all scorers with 35 points. It was part of an offensive clinic for the Clippers, who shot better than 60 percent from the field, and Los Angeles did a better job keeping Luka Doncic in check, as the Mavericks guard scored just 22 points in the loss.

Los Angeles needed George to get going if it wanted to win a championship this year, and the wing picked a great time to lock in. His 35 points was vital in helping the Clippers crush the Mavericks and prove just how much more talented Los Angeles is than Dallas. George could certainly help out more on the glass or with assists, but an aggressive George that’s scoring at will is the best one for the Clippers. His aggression opened the door for everyone else and Los Angeles ended up shooting 63 percent from the field, including 22 of 35 from behind the arc.

Dallas had no answer for George, but it also was clearly missing Kristaps Porzingis in this game. The Mavericks lacked  the same toughness and physicality that the Clippers brought to the game, and it’s a major reason Los Angeles was able to jump out to such a big lead early. Frustrations certainly boiled over at some point with coach Rick Carlisle getting ejected in the third quarter, but Dallas just needs to be willing to match that desperation from the opening tipoff. With their season on the line in Game 6, the Mavericks should definitely have more urgency than they did Tuesday.

Now that George has his head in the bubble and is focused, the Clippers are able to take that next step as a team. The Mavericks have put up an excellent fight in this series, but the combination of George and Kawhi Leonard playing well at the same time is too much for them to overcome. The New Jersey online sports betting sites list Los Angeles as a prohibitive favorite to finish off the series in Game 6, and I can’t argue against that. The moneyline odds of -360 aren’t idea, but the 8-point spread seems fair, so I’ll take the Clippers giving eight points at -110 odds.

BET ON LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS TO WIN

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Josh Walfish is an award-winning journalist who has been covering college and professional sports in the United States. He holds a journalism degree from Northwestern University and his work has appeared in the Miami Herald, Chicago Sun-Times and Providence Journal. He most recently chronicled the UMass hockey teams rise to prominence over the last two years for the local newspaper

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