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

Los Angeles Clippers vs Dallas Mavericks - 2021 NBA Playoffs Round 1
Los Angeles vs. Dallas, Western Conference Quarterfinals, May 22, Staples Center

Luka Doncic continues to torment the Los Angeles Clippers in the postseason, dropping yet another 30-point triple-double on Los Angeles to lead the Dallas Mavericks to a Game 1 victory. Paul George and Kawhi Leonard both had average games for the Clippers, who simply had no answers for the Mavericks on defense and allowed Dallas to shoot 50 percent from the field and 17 of 36 from 3-point range. With home-court advantage in hands, Dallas attempts to escape Los Angeles with a pair of wins Tuesday in Game 2.

Game 2 (Dallas Mavericks lead 1-0)

May 25, 10:30 p.m., Staples Center

Luka Doncic scored 31 points as part of his third career postseason triple-double to lead the Dallas Mavericks past the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 1 on Saturday. Doncic has played seven career games in the NBA playoffs, all against the Clippers, and Los Angeles has yet to find a way to actually slow down the Slovenian guard. They might have held him to one point in the fourth quarter, but Dallas was ready for its complementary players to shine and close out the game as five Mavericks finished in double figures. Kawhi Leonard scored 26 points and Paul George added 23, but the two did little to spark their teammates with just five assists each.

The Clippers have a defensive problem, and it’s only partially because they don’t have the right matchup to slow down Doncic. That is going to be an important factor in their future success in the series, but Los Angeles also did very little to slow down the Mavericks from behind the arc. Tim Hardaway Jr. made 5 of 9 from behind the arc and Dorian Finney-Smith made four of his five attempts from long range. Even though Kristaps Porzingis only shot 20 percent from 3-point range, the Mavericks shot 47 percent from deep as a team and 50 percent from the field overall. As good as George and Leonard can be offensively and as good as the Clippers can shoot the ball, if the defense isn’t there, Los Angeles is going to struggle in this series.

There is no doubt Dallas benefitted from the fact the Clippers, the top 3-point shooting team in the NBA, made just 11 of 40 attempts from behind the arc. However, Dallas also clearly showed an effort on defense and played better team basketball on offense. The Mavericks’ role players like Finney-Smith picked up the slack for Porzingis, who had a rough offensive game, and kept finding responses when it felt like the Clippers were poised to take over the game. Los Angeles seemed ready to take the lead for good several times in the third quarter, but each time, Dallas had the right response with some timely shooting and confident demeanor. There is a belief running through the Mavericks right now, and it starts with Doncic’s excellent play and continues through important contributions from Smith-Finnery, who scored 18 points, and Jalen Brunson, who scored 15 point.

There is an argument to be made that Dallas deserves more respect from the New Jersey basketball betting sites, which set the line at the Clippers being a six-point favorite. The Mavericks did win two of the three meetings with Los Angeles during the regular season and then looked impressive in a Game 1 victory. But that doesn’t detract from the Clippers being at home and likely to have a strong reaction to losing the opener. Both George and Leonard have the potential to take over a game when they are mad, and both will likely use that anger to fuel their defense. Doncic will still get his points, but I think the Clippers will focus on shutting down everyone else around him and force the young guard to beat them himself. He’ll put in a heroic effort, but it won’t be enough to overcome a superstar performance from Leonard, who I am betting will have at least 30 points in a Clippers win at +290 odds from the top sports betting sites in New Jersey. Between Doncic and Leonard, I think we’ll see quite a bit of points in this one, so I’ll also add on the double bet on the Clippers to win and over 215.5 total points at +160 odds on the top NBA betting sites in New Jersey.

BET ON LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS TO WIN

Game 3

May 28, 9:30 p.m., American Airlines Center

 

 

Game 4

May 30, 9:30 p.m., American Airlines Center

 

 

Game 5

June 2, TBD, Staple Center

 

Game 6

June 4, TBD, American Airlines Center

 

 

Game 7

June 6, TBD, Staples Center

 

 

Game 1

May 22, 4:30 p.m., Staples Center

When these two teams met last season in the first round, the story of the series wasn’t the Los Angeles Clippers winning. It was the emergence of Luka Doncic into a true superstar in this league on a national stage. Doncic became just the fifth player in NBA history to average at least 30 points, eight rebounds and eight assists per game in a playoff series. However, Dallas couldn’t overcome the long-term loss of Kristaps Porzingis due to injury and bowed out in six games. The Clippers likely won’t be so lucky this year, so Paul George and Kawhi Leonard need to be ready from the outset to carry this team in the NBA playoffs. This year’s team isn’t nearly as good as last year’s unit, and that team nearly lost to the Mavericks in the first round.

Doncic wasn’t making as much noise nationally during the regular season as some of the other shooters in the league, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t having an exceptional year. The Slovenian averaged 27.7 points, 8.6 assists and eight rebounds per game this season, but per usual, he saved his best work for the Clippers. In three games this season against Los Angeles, Doncic averaged 30.3 points, 11 rebounds and 8.3 assists, and it wasn’t just a one-game illusion. In their last meeting, Doncic dropped 42 points on the Clippers in a 16-point Dallas win on March 17. Two days prior, Doncic had a triple-double is a loss to Los Angeles. The Clippers had far more success containing Porzingis in those two meetings, but the Latvian still averaged 20 points and nine rebounds per game this season. Perhaps the secret weapon is Tim Hardaway, who averaged 23 points over his last 10 games of the regular season to boos this total to 16.6 points per game this season.

Last year, you could count on Los Angeles’ secondary players to make major contributions. Mostly it was Lou Williams or Montrezl Harrell who would step up as the complement to George and Leonard, but both Harrell and Williams are playing for other teams in these playoffs. Now it’s up to Serge Ibaka, Reggie Jackson or Marcus Morris to serve as that third scorer, and none of them elicit confidence. Leonard was able to raise his game to another level in last year’s first-round series with Dallas and carried the Clippers to the series victory no thanks to George, who admitted to struggling mentally in the bubble. The good news for the Clippers is that George should be more consistent in this year’s playoffs without the stress of the bubble weighing on him. George and Leonard had nearly identical stat lines this year, and they combined to average 48.1 points, 10.4 assists and 13.1 rebounds per game.

Ultimately, I don’t trust the Clippers in the playoffs, especially not this version of them. Doncic and Porzingis are both healthy and Dallas has a better third scorer than Los Angeles. The Clippers might be the favorite at the top NBA betting sites in New Jersey, but I simply don’t know if they have the mindset to win in the postseason. Dallas is hungry and not a team Los Angeles can afford to take lightly, not that I would expect the Clippers to look past the Mavericks. Another positive factor in Dallas’ favor is momentum, which is overwhelmingly on the Mavericks’ side. The Clippers limped into the playoffs with a 4-6 record while the Mavericks won 12 of their last 16 games in the regular season. Dallas also won two of the three meetings this season with the Clippers, which only affirms the reasons why I’m betting on the Mavericks to win this series at +320 odds from the New Jersey basketball betting sites. If you need a more specific bet, I’ll take Dallas in six games for +1000 odds.

The week off probably helped the Clippers regroup a bit before the postseason begins, but I don’t think it’s enough for them to win Game 1. It’s going to take a little bit for Los Angeles to regain some confidence and Dallas isn’t going to give it much time to build into the series. I’m sure plenty of players in that Dallas locker room still think about what could have been last season if the Mavericks stayed healthy, and that will be a motivating factor. The top sports betting sites in New Jersey might make the Clippers 5.5-point favorites, but Dallas is going to shock many by taking the opening game of the series. In addition to betting on Dallas to win on the moneyline at +200 odds, I’m doubling down on my earlier prediction and betting on Dallas to win both the first game and the series for +600 odds. On an individual level, Doncic to going to have a monster performance in Game 1, and I’ll bet on him to record a triple-double for +480 odds.

BET ON DALLAS MAVERICKS TO WIN

NJ Legal Betting Sites

Betting Site
Bonus
Brand Features
Review
Bet Now
888Sport
Risk Free First Bet up to $500
Risk Free First Bet up to $500
Read Review
Sugar House Sportsbook
100% Up to $250
100% Up to $250
Read Review
FanDuel
Get A $1000 Risk Free Bet
Get A $1000 Risk Free Bet
Read Review
Borgata Sports
Get $100 When You Bet $20
Get $100 When You Bet $20
Read Review
BetMGM Sports
Risk Free First Bet Up To $600
Risk Free First Bet Up To $600
Read Review
Caesars Sportsbook
First Deposit Bonus up to $300
First Deposit Bonus up to $300
Read Review
Unibet Sportsbook
$20 Free Bets
$20 Free Bets
Read Review

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

All Reviews by Josh Walfish

BACK TO TOP