The daily preview muscles into the paint with NBA Playoffs tips for Game 5 of a series that has swung dramatically in LA Clippers’ favour and away from Dallas Mavericks.
12:00 (AEST), Thu 3rd Jun @ Staples Center, Los Angeles
History: Played 172: Mavericks 99 V Clippers 73
Last meeting: May 31, 2021 (Game 4): Clippers 106 V Mavericks 81 at AmericanAirlines Center
Final Thoughts: The Western Conference 4 v 5 First Round series heads back to Los Angeles after the Clippers squared the ledger against the Mavericks with a pair of victories in Dallas.
The Mavericks took a commanding 2-0 lead with 113-103 and 127-121 wins on the road. The Clippers had few answers for Dallas’ marquee man Luka Doncic.
But Kawhi Leonard (36 pts, 8 reb) and Paul George (29 pts, 7 reb) put the Clippers on the board with a 118-108 result in Game 3 in Texas.
Leonard and George combined for 49 points and 19 rebounds in a defensively dominant 106-81 Game 4 success. Kawhi made 24 of 32 shots during the two Dallas-hosted games. Reggie Jackson’s return to the starting line-up has also proved a steadying influence for the Clippers.
Doncic averaged 38 points, 8.7 rebounds and 9 assists across the first three games. Hampered by a cervical strain in Game 4, however, he scored just 19 points on 9 for 24 shooting. Doncic hit just one of seven three-point attempts – after nailing 17 from 37 in the first three games. Meanwhile, he has struggled at the free-throw line throughout the series.
The 22-year-old talisman is probable for Game 5, but the Mavs need him at 100 percent to compete with the Clippers.
Dallas also need more out of Kristaps Porzingis, while Tim Hardaway Jr’s form fell away at home after tallying 49 points in the opening two games at Staples.
The Mavericks aren’t ready to roll over just yet, but the it’s all Clippers momentum-wise at present. Kawhi and ‘Playoff P’ are locked in and the Clippers look certain to atone for their home stumbles earlier in the series and take their first lead.
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