Venue: American Airlines Center.
Dallas lead the series after two away games against the Clippers, which seemed unlikely before the playoffs began. Now the Mavericks need to build on their success, but even at home they are no longer considered favourites for the game. Will the home team surprise again?
Dallas’ current form
Dallas had a good chance to advance to the 2nd round last year, but Kristaps Porzingis’ injury ended their chances. The Latvian centre is now fit, but his utility numbers have noticeably diminished. Kristaps avoids the power play and increasingly stays on the arc, which is somewhat strange for a centre. The Mavericks have some good defensive players on the roster, but it’s difficult under the basket. Dwight Powell is far from his pre-injury form, and Maxi Kleber can’t defend at the playoff level. On top of that, Kleber is also injured, significantly limiting the team’s rotation. His participation is now in doubt. J.J. Redick is also injured and is unlikely to be on the court in the series with the Clippers. As for the latest results, Dallas have won 11 of their last 14 games without a loss.
Luka Doncic continues to lead his team, tallying 70 points in victories against the Clippers. The Slovene hit 16 of 29 shots from the field in their last meeting and Dallas won 127-121. Rick Carlisle’s men shot nearly everything from beyond the arc in the evening, hitting 18 of 34 three-point attempts. Porzingis did well to open the floor and hit 3 three-pointers, while Tim Hardaway was very effective with 28 points. On the downside, the Mavericks shot 60 points from under the basket.
Los Angeles Clippers’ current form
It is unclear whether the Clippers chose their playoff opponents, losing their last regular-season games to the league’s underdogs, but in any case, this tactic is failing so far. The coaching staff still can’t find the best combination against Dallas, and that particularly applies to the play under the basket. Serge Ibaka is suddenly unplayable in the playoffs, Ivica Zubac is too slow, and he lacks the resolve to switch to the small five. Meanwhile, Paul George and Kawhi Leonard are doing the best they can on offense, averaging 25.5 and 33.5 points respectively. Making matters worse is the locker room conflict between Rajon Rondo and Tyrone Liu, so it’s not a good thing for Los Angeles right now. At least the good news is that the injury list is empty and all the strongest will play in Game 3.
In the last game, Tyrone Liu’s men played poorly on defense and at times it looked like the team was conceding on every possession. The roleplayers did not support their leaders, who combined for 26 of 43 shots on goal. True, Paul George could have shot better from beyond the arc. He made only 1 accurate shot on 7 attempts. On the positive side, we should note the play on fastbreaks, while the team scored heavily from the paint. Kawhi Leonard was the game’s most productive player, scoring 41 points.
Expert Betting Tips
Dallas made 50% of its three-pointers in 2 of its first playoff games, although it had a modest 36.2% shooting percentage in the regular season. Their shooting percentage could drop significantly in the next game, and their chances of success will be much lower. The Clippers could sharpen their defensive game, as long as George, Leonard, Beverley and Rondo can play even more aggressively at the arc. Los Angeles will continue to take advantage of their opponent’s problems under the basket, and with Kleber gone, the Mavericks will find it even more difficult to rotate. The past games have been very tightly fought, with no clear advantage for the home team. We suggest betting on the following outcomes:
- Handicap2 (-2.5) with odds 1.91;
- Under 219.5 for 1.97;
- Clippers to win both halves for 3.50.