Mavs Fall To Clippers in Game 3 Despite Luka Heroics

AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez

First off, how cool was it to see a packed house at the AAC last night?

The Dallas Mavericks cooled off last night, falling to the Los Angeles Clippers, who heated up, in a 118-108 loss in Dallas. The road team is undefeated in the series thus far, and this is starting to feel like an NHL playoff series with all these road victories.

Dallas didn’t get much help outside Luka Doncic‘s 44-point performance. Their 2nd leading scorer was Maxi Kleber with 14, also noting Kristaps Porzingis was practically non-existent with just 9 points in the loss.

I mentioned it is tough to continue shooting above 50%, which was exactly what happened to the Mavs. While they did shoot 20/39 from three, they lacked from within the three-point line:

  • 18/47 (38%) on 2s
  • 12/18 (66%) at the free throw line

The Clippers made adjustments to try to improve matchups against the Mavs. Starting Center, Ivica Zubac, only played 11 minutes, as Tyronn Lue switched to a small-ball approach. Rajon Rondo and Terrence Mann saw inflated minutes to try to combat the Mavs’ ability to spread the floor. It appears to have worked for the time being, but I believe Rick Carlisle will make the proper counter-adjustments to improve in Game 4.

Kawhi Leonard and Paul George showed up big time on the road. I lost track of how many times either of them silenced the rowdy Dallas crowd with a big shot or defensive stop. While they both eclipsed 40 minutes of playing time, they were highly efficient. The stars combined for 65 points, 24/35 (69%, nice) from the field, and a perfect 12/12 from the free-throw line. The Clips shot 58/42/94 as a team in the win.

Are the Mavs in trouble for Game 4?

Biggest Concern

Kristaps Porzingis is the one and only x-factor for the Mavs. While “X-Factor” is an extremely generic and over-abused term, it is true in this case.

Who on the Clippers can match up with him? Nobody!

He spends way too much time outside the 3-point line, and FAR behind the line too. It’s time to expose the Clippers’ small ball approach. Get KP in the paint or at the elbow, get him the ball and let him work. If he scores 25 points against the Clippers, it’s an automatic win for the Mavs.

Next Game

Game #4 v Los Angeles Clippers, Sunday @ Dallas, 8:30pm CT

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