clippers-vs.-dallas-mavericks:-first-round-scouting-report

SERIES SCHEDULE (all times PT)

Mon., Aug. 17: Mavericks at Clippers, Game 1, 6 p.m., ESPN

Wed., Aug. 19: Mavericks at Clippers, Game 2, 6 p.m., TNT

Fri., Aug. 21: Clippers at Mavericks, Game 3, 6 p.m., TNT

Sun., Aug. 23: Clippers at Mavericks, Game 4, 12:30 p.m. ABC

Tues., Aug. 25: Mavericks at Clippers, Game 5 (if necessary)

Thurs., Aug. 27: Clippers at Mavericks, Game 6 (if necessary)

Sat., Aug. 29: Mavericks at Clippers, Game 7 (if necessary)

HEAD-TO-HEAD (this season)

Clippers won the regular-season series 3-0

Nov. 26: Clippers 114, Mavericks 99, at Dallas

Jan. 21: Clippers 110, Mavericks 107, at Dallas

Aug. 6: Clippers 126, Mavericks 111, at Lake Buena Vista, Florida

TALE OF THE TAPE

Mavericks (NBA rank) … category … Clippers (NBA rank)

43-32 … Season Record … 49-23

117.0 (third) … PPG … 116.3 (fourth)

112.1 (16th) … Opp. PPG … 109.9 (13th)

46.1 (16th) … FG Pct. … 46.6 (12th)

36.7 (10th) … 3pt Pct. … 37.1 (sixth)

77.9 (14th) … FT Pct. … 79.1 (ninth)

46.9 (fourth) … Rebounds … 47.7 (third)

24.7 (14th) … Assists … 23.7 (22nd)

6.1 (29th) … Steals … 7.1 (24th)

4.8 (16th) … Blocked shots … 4.7 (18th)

12.7 (second) … Turnovers … 14.6 (13th)

STARTING BACKCOURT

Kawhi Leonard will lead them. The Clippers’ do-everything wing (27.1 ppg, 7.1 rbp, 4.9 apg this season) is a two-time NBA Finals MVP who carried the Toronto Raptors to their first title last season, averaging 30.5 points, 9.1 rebounds and 3.9 assists during a monumental playoff run. Patrick Beverley (7.9 ppg, 5.2 rbp, 3.6 apg) is more than a defensive pest; he’s also a marksman from deep, shooting 53.3% from deep in 11 games after the All-Star break … For Dallas, wunderkind Luka Doncic, the Mavericks’ flashy second-year point guard, is a gamer, recording a league-best 17 triple-doubles. But he’ll have his hands full against the Clippers, against whom he’s averaged 29 points, seven assists and five turnovers per game — compared with his season averages of 28.8 points, 8.8 assists and 4.3 giveaways. And Doc Rivers wouldn’t say who his daughter Callie will be rooting for, but he suggested it might be her husband, Seth Curry, the Mavericks’ starting shooting guard, who’s averaging 12.4 points per game. EDGE: Clippers

STARTING FRONTCOURT

Led by six-time All-Star Paul George (21.5 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 3.9 apg) on the wing, the Clippers frontcourt is dynamic on both ends. Marcus Morris Sr. (16.7 ppg, 5.0 rpg) arrived at the trade deadline, forsaking a scoring role in New York for an opportunity to do the little things in LA. And Ivica Zubac, the 7-foot center in his fourth NBA season, is averaging 10.6 points 10.3 rebounds and shooting 69.4% from the field in the bubble — partly because he made all 10 of his attempts while feasting on the Mavericks in a victory Aug. 6. The Mavs feature a nontraditional center — a Unicorn, some might say. The 7-foot-3 Kristaps Porziņģis (20.4 ppg, 9.5 apg) is a deep threat, shooting 35.2% on 3-pointers, of which he’s taken more than seven per game this season. He’s also found his stride in the bubble, where he’s been averaging 30.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. EDGE: Clippers

BENCHES

Led by two-time reigning Sixth Man of the Year Lou Williams (18.2 ppg) and fellow Sixth Man of the Year finalist Montrezl Harrell (18.6 ppg), the Clippers again led the NBA in bench scoring. Forward JaMychal Green — whose 3-point shooting prowess helped make the Clippers’ first-round series against the Warriors interesting last season — is shooting 52.9% from 3-point range in the bubble. Dallas’ bench accounts for 38.4 points per game — 6.6 of them coming from former Clippers favorite Boban Marjanovic. EDGE: CLIPPERS

COACHES

Doc Rivers is a championship coach (Boston Celtics, 2008-09). So is Rick Carlisle (Dallas, 2011). Rivers moved into 11th all-time in regular season coaching victories in the bubble, with 943. Carlisle ranks high on that list, too, with 794, the 16th most. Asked this week about Carlisle, Rivers said, “Usually comes down to at the end of the day the players you have.” EDGE: CLIPPERS

INTANGIBLES

The Clippers arrived in Florida in pursuit of the team’s first title and hoping to build their connectivity and continuity, but they’ve not had the opportunity as players have been in and out of the lineup — and in and out of the bubble. They’ll have to rely on their veteran savvy — and Leonard’s twice-championship will — as they try to find their playoff rhythm. On the other side, Luka Doncic has a flair for the dramatic, becoming, at 21, the youngest player to lead the league in triple-doubles, including two that were 40-point triple-doubles and 12 that were 30-point triple-doubles. EDGE: CLIPPERS

SERIES PREDICTION

With no real home-court advantage, and no great rhythm entering play, the Clippers will be hard-pressed to dispatch of Dallas without any hiccups, despite having the deeper roster and having beaten the Mavericks in all three meetings this season. CLIPPERS IN FIVE

###

By Richard Moran

Richard Moran loves to write about sports with the Golden State Online. Before that, he worked as a senior writer at ESPN. Richard grew up in San Diego and graduated from the University of San Diego in 2004, after which he worked as an editor for five years.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *