The daily preview muscles into the paint with NBA Playoffs tips for the Game 7 decider between Kawhi’s LA Clippers and Luka’s Dallas Mavericks.
05:30 (AEST), Mon 7th Jun @ Staples Center
History: Played 173: Mavericks 99 V Clippers 74
Last meeting: June 5, 2021 (Game 6): Clippers 104 d Mavericks 97 at American Airlines Center
Final Thoughts: LA Clippers and Dallas Mavericks embark on the only Game 7 showdown of the 2021 NBA Playoffs’ First Round. The fourth-seeded Clippers get home-court advantage for the decider – but all six games so far have been won by the away team.
The Mavericks took a commanding 2-0 lead with 113-103 and 127-121 wins in Los Angeles. 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.
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.
But the 22-year-old talisman put the injury behind him to dominate Game 5. Doncic had 42 points, 8 rebounds and 14 assists in a 105-100 result. The Clippers fought back to lead during the third quarter before allowing the Mavs to go on a decisive 25-5 run.
The home-team drought continued in Game 6, however, as a Kawhi-inspired Clippers carved out a series-saving 104-97 victory in Dallas.
Leonard carried the Clippers with 45 points, going 18 from 25 from the floor (including 5 from 9 from three-point range). Back-court George (20 pts, 13 reb, 6 ast) and Reggie Jackson (25 pts, 9 reb), who has been a great addition to the starting line-up, also made important contributions.
Doncic (29 pts, 8 reb, 11 ast, 4 stl) tried his heart out but couldn’t get the three-pointers to drop, shooting 2 from 9.
It seems Game 7 will come down to two vital factors: three-point shooting, and the battle between Kawhi and Luka. But Leonard boasts the stronger support cast – Tim Hardaway Jr has had his moments in the series for the Mavs but Kristaps Porzingis has been a bust – while the Clippers are superior defensively and have been the better team across a seesawing series.
The hosts look a little under the odds as $1.37 favourites but expect them to progress.
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