It was a roller coaster of a season for the Dallas Mavericks. Though they won the Southwest division by four games over the Memphis Grizzlies, Dallas’s performance was underwhelming at times. However, things look different now that it is playoff time in the NBA.
Avid NBA fans know that the playoffs are a totally different animal than the regular season. The playoffs are about star players. Luka Doncic reminded us all how big of a star he is on Tuesday night.
What is Going Right for Dallas?
‘Luka Magic’ poured in 39 points to help lead the Mavs to a 127-121 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers. The Clips simply could not stop Doncic from three point land as he made five shots from ‘down-town’. The 6-7 Slovenia native also contributed seven assists and seven rebounds to cap off a tremendous all-around performance.
Doncic had plenty of help from his teammates in Game 2 as well. Kristaps Porzingis banged in 20 points and Tim Hardaway, Jr. netted 28 points (18 of which came from three point land). Maxi Kleber also added 13 points to give the Mavs four players in double figures.
The win gives Dallas a commanding 2-0 lead in the series, which means they have a great chance of advancing to round two. In fact, NBA teams with a 2-0 series lead advance to the next round of the playoffs about 94% of the time (landofbasketball.com). That’s a stat that all Mavs fans will be glad to see.
What is Wrong with the Clippers?
Home court advantage has not helped the Clippers at all, as they dropped both games at the Staples Center by a combined 16 points! Los Angeles will hope to have better luck on Friday, when the series will shift to Dallas’s American Airlines Center for Game 3.
What is surprising is that the Clippers stars, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, are getting their share of points. Leonard scored a game-high 41 points and George put up 28 points in Game 2. The problem is that it takes more than two guys to get a playoff victory for a team.
Reggie Jackson did his part of the bench for Los Angeles by contributing 15 points in Game 2. However, if the Clippers are going to get back in this series, they must get improved play from veterans like Rajon Rondo and Marcus Morris.
Another problem that has plagued the Clippers is lack of effort on the defensive end of the floor. Giving up 113 points in Game 1 and 127 points in Game 2 were an awful look for a team with so many seasoned veterans. You can bet that Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue will make defense a hot item on his pregame checklist before Game 3.
Even though the Clippers are on the road for Game 3, oddsmakers expect them to bounce back. Many online sportsbooks installed the Clips as an early -1.5 point favorite on Friday night. To say that Game 3 is a ‘must-win’ for Los Angeles would be an understatement.