Clippers-Mavericks: X-factors, key matchups, and a prediction

LA Clippers vs. Dallas Mavericks (Photo by Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images)
LA Clippers vs. Dallas Mavericks (Photo by Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images) /
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Dallas Mavericks
Dallas Mavericks Kristaps Porzingis (Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports) /

LA Clippers vs. Dallas Mavericks: Key matchups

The Clippers’ scheme to contain Luka on offense and hunt him on defense

The Mavericks have the advantage of having such a skilled player such as Luka on their team, running their offense. The Clippers have the advantage of being able to throw a bunch of defenders who are able to switch on screens.

Paul George and Kawhi Leonard have to sell out and be the defenders they are capable of for four quarters. Too many times throughout the course of the season I saw them both be lackadaisical on defense, that has to change in order for LA to succeed. Luka is going to put up numbers, if you can limit his free throw attempts and make him work on both ends, that’s your best bet to contain him.

I mentioned earlier that the role players for the Mavericks are going to have to make a splash if the Mavs want to steal this series, on the other end the Clippers have to make sure they do not let any of the Mavs role players to feel super confident.

Luka is prone to flopping, technical fouls, and complaining to officials. I think you have to take that into account and let him feel you on defense and go at him on offense. Put him in situations where he has to move his feet, or in foul trouble. As we know, Luka’s strengths are not on the defensive end.

The Mavericks have to put Luka and Porzingis in spots on defense where they can be most successful

We know that Porzingis’s size is unmatched and can protect the rim, but he can’t move his feet and is prone to pick up cheap fouls. If PG13 or Kawhi gets Porzingis on a switch in a pick-and-roll, they will put him in the torture chamber. The Mavs will have to limit that as much as possible if they want to enjoy the luxury of Porzingis’s offense.

The same goes for Luka, as big as he is, he’s not going to impact the game on the defensive end. The Mavericks will have to assign Luka to a player on the Clippers with limited offense and keep him out of switches as much as possible so they can one, have the best chance to get stops. And two, keep Luka out of foul trouble.