Venue: Staples Center.
Match 2. The score in the series is 0-1.
The Los Angeles Clippers started the playoffs with a loss, failing to handle Luka Doncic, who had a triple-double. Will Tyrone Liu’s team be able to find an antidote to game two, or is Luka not the key factor? Let’s pick a few bets on the first round of the NBA playoffs at once.
The Clippers missed their shots
The component where the Clippers should add on defense is clear. It’s more efficient against the little guys because, besides Doncic, Hardaway and Brunson also scored for the Californians. It’s pretty clear in the offence as well. LAC simply couldn’t get anything going from beyond the arc. 11-of-40 (27.5% conversion rate) is not typical of the Clippers and generally does not match the level of one of the top contenders for the title. And that’s what Tyrone Liu’s team still is after its loss to the Mavericks in the first game.
There are questions about the Clippers’ leaders. Yes, Marcus Morris is 0 for 6 from beyond the arc, but you wouldn’t expect much from him. But Kawhi Leonard’s -13 utility rating is a letdown considering the two-time NBA champion’s defensive prowess. That said, Kawhi has 26 points and 8 rebounds. Paul George scores 23 points, but just 2 of 6 from three-point range and a -6 utility rating. Patrick Beverley has 10 points and -13 in 17 minutes. Reggie Jackson (+13), who unexpectedly ended up on the bench even though he played almost the entire regular season in the starting lineup, was the best in terms of utility. Liu overplayed his hand. He and his team have two days to work on their mistakes.
Dallas have one job to do
All coach Rick Carlisle’s coaching staff and the players on the court have to do is make room for Luka Doncic. The Slovene is phenomenal and almost always efficient in goal situations. In his first game against the Clippers, Doncic led all scorers with 31 points, 5 of 11 from beyond the three-point arc, as well as 10 rebounds and 11 assists. There’s nothing to say about it - another great game from the terrific Slovenian.
What about the others? Tim Hardaway and Dorian Finney-Smith played a good game, serving brilliantly as a distraction for Doncic. The former scored 21, the latter 18. Julian Brunson, whom Carlisle left on the court at great length alongside Doncic, was great support from the bench, although usually, Brunson is exactly what replaces Luka. The reserve point guard has 15 points to his credit. We’ll see if Dallas can continue to work almost perfectly in this series, barring another lacklustre performance from Porzingis. Otherwise, the Clippers won’t be beaten. So far, only the short rotation is troubling. The Mavericks have essentially played seven men. Apart from Brunson and Richardson, no one got more than 9 minutes off the bench.
Expert Betting Tips
Luka Doncic is very difficult to stop. But is that the main point? The Clippers are unlikely to be as bad offensively from afar in their second game in a row. And that could be a verdict for the Mavericks. If the LAC are capable of adding to their defense, Dallas simply don’t have the resources to do so. The Los Angeles Clippers have to pick themselves up, let Luka Doncic play, but establish their offense and the Mavericks will have nothing to answer with. We think the Clippers will tie the series.
- Clippers to win with a handicap (-6.0) at odds of about 1.90;
- Clippers Individual Total Over 111.5 for about 1.90;
- Clippers to win and Total Over 216.5 at odds of around 2.50.