Unless you are a Dallas Mavericks or Portland Trailblazers fan, the entire NBA Nation will be stunned if both the Clippers and the Lakers some how lose to their first round opponents. Even Dallas and Portland fans, if they are being honest, would have to admit they would not have expected their teams to be playing this well against the two pre-season favorites, but this is just another reason why basketball is my favorite sport. Dallas and Portland are both the underdogs but not by much, and the added rest that playoff teams have because of being in the NBA bubble, with no traveling, means younger teams are well rested, which means trouble for slow veterans with old legs.
Dallas made the Clippers look old and slow.
The Clippers did not look hungry, and the Mavericks looked desperate and starving for a win. Paul George got shut down. If the Clippers are going to win the Championship, Paul George has to score 25 five points a game. Last night in game 2 he played 32 minutes and only had 14 points, he is getting exploited because he cannot create his own shot. Lou Williams stepped up with 23 points but when your second best player, Paul George, who is counted on as the Clippers Scottie Pippen, only has 14 points you are not going to win. Kawhi Leonard had a LeBron type of game, even in a losing effort he gave all he had, but they cannot do it alone. George got exploited for the same exact reason Anthony Davis got exploited the night before in the Lakers loss to Portland, they are both softer than Charmin Toilet paper.
Paul George and Anthony Davis are both “slim jims”, tall and skinny, not strong, probably cannot bench press their body weight. The talking heads can say that the game has changed to outside shooting big men, maybe it has during the regular season, but in the playoffs the game is still the same, when the refs stop calling weak fouls, when they let the players grab on defense and shove the offensive players with a forearm, and hand check. Weak players, most often guards, are not going to be able to create their own shot. Yes, Kawhi had two threes but his game is pound the ball inside, take it to the rim, Gregg Popovich style. Most Championships are won inside the three point line. The Golden State dynasty, they are the only team I have witnessed in my lifetime who were able to win consistently with outside shooting, but even then they had some beasts in the paint playing steady defense and Dallas this year has some beasts with Boban Marjanovic at 7’4 and Kristaps Porzingis at 7’3, both of these guys are a big defensive presence, plus they can score both inside and outside. Not only can they score but they crash the boards and get rebounds. How many double doubles did Dirk Nowitzki get during his entire career? Not very many, which probably represents the determining factor of the number of NBA Championships that Dirk won for the Mavs.
Dallas ran those old geezers out of the gym, right from the tip off to the Porzingis dunk to establish the tempo of the game. The Clippers have to create a half court game, they have to slow down the tempo to win the series. Patrick Beverley was out, he needs to be on the court somehow for the Clippers playing Arkansas defense and beat up the Mavericks. If the Clippers, and the Lakers, for that matter want to win their first round match ups, they both need to take a page out of the 1990 Detroit Pistons playbook and start fighting like their legacies depend on it, because if the Clippers and the Lakers both lose in the first round to the Mavericks and the Trail Blazers, (unless you are a Dallas and Portland fan) it will be the biggest disappointment and upset in NBA history. Everyone thought at the beginning of the season that either the Clippers or the Lakers were going to represent the West in the NBA Finals, now the world is waking up from this dream. The reality is that Luka Doncic and Damian Lillard are both fighters with knockout power. If the Clippers and the Lakers don’t get up off the canvas, fight back and find a way to win, then they do not deserve to be NBA Champions.