The daily preview muscles into the paint with NBA Playoffs tips for Game 6 as LA Clippers strive to keep their series alive against Dallas Mavericks.
11:00 (AEST), Sat 5th Jun @ AmericanAirlines Center, Dallas
History: Played 172: Mavericks 99 V Clippers 73
Last meeting: June 3, 2021: Mavericks 105 d Clippers 100 at Staples Center
Final Thoughts: Dallas Mavericks get the first opportunity to close out their seesawing First Round series against LA Clippers. But they will need to become the first team in the series to notch a win on their home court.
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 as the trend of road victors in this series continued. Tim Hardaway contributed 20 points – including a pair of clutch late free-throws.
The Clippers fought back to lead during the third quarter before allowing the Mavs to go on a decisive 25-5 run. George put up 23 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists and led a fourth-quarter fight-back. Leonard and Reggie Jackson both had 20 points.
The Clippers – who unquestionably boast the better team on both sides of the ball – are $1.71 favourites to send the series to a decider with a Game 6 win. The Mavericks’ fortunes rest singularly on the irresistible Doncic.
An improved shooting performance is integral to the Clippers’ chances. But expect Kawhi’s championship qualities to come to the fore with their season at stake.