In a back and forth game, the Mavs were able to take game 2 127-114 over the Clippers to tie their first round series at 1. After a disappointing game 1, where Porzingis’ ejection likely cost them the game, the team responded in this one.
The Mavericks not only got big games from their two stars, Doncic and Porzingis, but they got solid performances from many of their role players. Curry, Hardaway, Burke and Boban all gave the Mavericks double figures, which is huge considering the Clippers depth.
A big key to this series will be the Mavericks ability to hit open shots, as guys like Curry and Hardaway will get looks with all the attention on Luka and KP. If they continue to do that, then the Clippers will have serious problems dealing with this historically good offense.
The Mavericks also need to continue to exploit their main advantage, which is their size. If Porzingis, Kleber or Boban are on the floor, and the biggest Clipper is Harrell or Morris, they need to attack inside. If these guys get paint touches with these mismatches, it will usually lead to a good look inside or an open shot if the Clippers need to double. With the Clippers offensive ability sky high using their small ball lineups, Dallas must use the advantage they have with easy shots inside and offensive rebounds.
For the Clippers, this was a tough loss considering some of the performances they had. Jackson started in Pat Beverley’s absence, and gave them good minutes, and gave their offense a much better pace. Lou Will was his normal self, with 23 off the bench. Harrell and Morris were solid in spurts and both had double digits, and Kawhi had a classic game with 35, 10 rebounds and elite defense.
Then there’s Paul George. One of the most talented players in the league, multi time all star, with another bad playoff performance. He had 14 and 10, but shot 25%, and seemed to be off the whole game. The Clippers will need him especially in future series, but they need him stepping up now if they want to get by Dallas. Kawhi wanted to play with him because he is an elite two way player who can fill it up offensively, but these are the nights that have haunted PG for years.
Looking forward in this series, expect a long one. The Mavericks are for real, and are ready to compete now. This is the first taste of the playoffs for many of their players, and they are giving the Clippers all they can handle. Expect Paul George to be better, but even then this matchup is pretty even.
Doncic needs to continue to dominate, and get all of his teammates involved. Look for the Clippers to potentially give Zubac and even Noah a slight boost in minutes to deal with Porzingis, and make him work for his offense. Despite poor defense all year, the Mavs are competing well on that end through two games, and that will need to continue if they hope to pull an upset.