Dallas Mavericks vs Los Angeles Clippers 8/17/20: Starting Lineups, Matchup Preview, Betting Odds

Dallas Mavericks vs Los Angeles Clippers Preview

In the Mavericks’ last game, they lost to the on-fire Phoenix Suns by 26 points. However, Kristaps Porzingis did not play and Luka Doncic only played thirteen minutes so it’s tough to extrapolate much from that contest. Dallas finished up their play in Orlando with just a 3-5 record, and while they did have some difficult matchups along the way, they weren’t able to generate the momentum they would have hoped to come into this first-round matchup with. This season marks the Mavericks’ first playoff appearance since the 2015-16 season. They have not advanced past the opening round series since 2010-11, the season they won the NBA Finals. The Mavericks produced the NBA’s best offensive rating of all time with 116.1 points per 100 possessions this season. However, in three matchups against the Clippers this season, Dallas scored just 106.0 points per 100 possessions and lost all three contests.

Meanwhile, the Clippers come into this first-round series with plenty of momentum as they have won four of their past five outings and finished the end of the regular season with a 5-3 record in Orlando. The Clippers will be confident in this series with their team seemingly at the healthiest its been all season and a 3-0 record against Dallas this year. In Kawhi Leonard’s and Paul George’s first season with the team, the Clippers have a championship-or-bust mentality, but it will be important to not overlook this first-round series as the Mavericks have been outstanding offensively this year. This will be the Clippers’ second straight playoff appearance and eighth in nine years. The team has not advanced past the opening round since the 2014-15 season. Montrezl Harrell should be returning to action for this game after missing the entirety of the bubble play in Orlando to be with his family after the death of his grandmother. Harrell rejoins one of the deepest rosters in the NBA. The Clippers should have benefitted significantly from the time off midseason, and they have as good a shot of any team of lifting the championship trophy at the end of the season.

TV Schedule

Date: 8/17/20
Time: 9:00 PM ET
Arena: AdventHealth Arena, Orlando, FL
Channel: ESPN

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Injuries

Mavericks: Seth Curry (probable), Kristaps Porzingis (probable), Courtney Lee (out), Dwight Powell (out), Jalen Brunson (out), Willie Cauley-Stein (out)
Clippers: Montrezl Harrell (active), Landry Shamet (questionable), Patrick Beverley (questionable)

Mavericks Starting 5

PG: Seth Curry
SG: Luka Doncic
SF: Tim Hardaway Jr.
PF: Dorian Finney-Smith
C: Kristaps Porzingis

Mavericks Analysis

Dallas MavericksThe Mavericks have produced the best offense in the NBA this season largely on the back of outstanding play from sophomore guard Luka Doncic. Some players have a sophomore slump, Luka had a sophomore surge and then some. The 21-year-old player is averaging 28.8 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 8.8 assists per game and barring some shocking development he will be a First-Team All-NBA player this year. Luka is going to have his work cut out for him against the Clippers, though, as Patrick Beverley, Paul George, and Kawhi Leonard are three of the best defenders in the NBA and will take turns guarding Doncic. The Mavericks will rely on Seth Curry to continue hitting 3-point shots at an elite clip as he has shot 45.2% from deep this year on 5.0 attempts per game. Curry will likely have to contend with Patrick Beverley as his primary defender, though.

At the forward spots, the Mavericks have some options but I currently expect them to start Dorian Finney-Smith and Tim Hardaway Jr. for the beginning of this series. Kristaps Porzingis has often played at power forward alongside either Dwight Powell or Maxi Kleber, but I expect the Mavericks to put him at the five for this series and emphasize spacing and defense on the wings. Finney-Smith has been a breakout player for the team this season and is very capable on defense, but he’s going to be overmatched against Kawhi Leonard on the wing. Tim Hardaway Jr. is going to be forced to cover Paul George, a task he’s not quite cut out for as he’s never been known as a defensive specialist. Dallas may choose to play Michael Kidd-Gilchrist over THJ as he’s a better defender, but MKG produces very little in the way of shooting which would make things overly difficult on Luka Doncic. It will be interesting to see how Rick Carlisle handles his rotations and matchups in this series as it seems on the surface that this roster is going to struggle to match up with the Clippers.

Clippers Starting 5

PG: Patrick Beverley
SG: Paul George
SF: Kawhi Leonard
PF: Marcus Morris
C: Ivica Zubac

Clippers Analysis

Los Angeles ClippersThe entirety of the Clippers’ starting five is expected to be available for this contest as Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, and Marcus Morris have all taken games off recently to prepare for the playoffs. Patrick Beverley is the only question mark in the starting lineup health-wise as he is currently listed as questionable for the game with a calf injury. He also previously left the bubble in Orlando to mourn the loss of a close friend who was shot and killed. There has been a fair amount of tumult when it comes to Beverley’s availability, but Doc Rivers is hopeful to have him for this game and with Beverley’s mentality, you can bank on him playing even if he’s not quite 100%. Joining Beverley in the backcourt is Paul George, a player who’s capable of playing anywhere from shooting guard to power forward. George will form perhaps the best defensive backcourt in the NBA alongside Beverley and will likely see a ton of time guarding All-World guard Luka Doncic.

Kawhi Leonard headlines the Clippers’ lineup at small forward and he should be ready to get back to his monstrous playoff production from last season. Leonard’s playoff numbers last year were on par with some all-time greats as he led the Raptors to their first title in franchise history. He’ll be hoping to do the same for the Clippers and he’ll likely have plenty of room to operate as the Mavericks just don’t have the guys to defend both him and Paul George. The Mavericks seemingly prefer to play Kristaps Porzingis, and if they employ that strategy against the Clippers it will be to the advantage of Marcus Morris. The Clippers’ midseason trade acquisition is a versatile scoring threat and should see plenty of open shot attempts with the attention the Clippers’ top stars will garner from Dallas defenders. Finally, at center, Ivica Zubac is consistently one of the most underrated players in the NBA. He’s a very solid rebounder, screener, and interior scorer, but if Porzingis’s 3-point attempts are falling, Zubac may struggle to stay on the floor. The Clippers have plenty of other options for their center position between Montrezl Harrell, Joakim Noah, and Jamychal Green all capable of playing significant minutes.

Mavericks vs Clippers DFS Angle

For the Mavericks, Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis are two of the most expensive players for DFS lineups. Doncic costs $10,200 on FanDuel and $11,000 on DraftKings, more than any other player on both platforms, and Porzingis costs $8,600 on FanDuel and $8,300 on DraftKings. I wouldn’t suggest paying up for Luka as this is a very difficult matchup for him and it will take some time for him to adjust his play in this series. Porzingis, on the other hand, I’m happy to spend up on as I see him being very productive against a Clippers frontcourt that isn’t really built to guard a player like him.

For the Clippers, I love Lou Williams ($5,300 on FanDuel and $6,000 on DraftKings) and Montrezl Harrell ($5,800 on FanDuel and $5,900 on DraftKings) as I expect both reserves to play significant minutes in this game. Williams and Harrell will be playing against a mediocre Dallas defense and should benefit from easier opportunities as the Mavs focus their energies on guarding Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.

Mavericks vs Clippers Betting Odds

Mavericks Spread: +6.0
Mavericks Moneyline: +230
Clippers Spread: -6.0
Clippers Moneyline: -270
Over/Under Points Total: 230.0

I believe the Clippers will come out with a strong effort in Game 1 despite the possible absence of their starting point guard Patrick Beverley. LA is 3-0 against the Mavericks this season and there are plenty of reasons to believe that continues here. In these two teams’ three meetings this season, the Clippers have won by an average of 11 points so I would lean towards betting the Clippers against the spread in this matchup. As for the over/under, these two teams have combined to average 222 points per game in each of their three prior matchups, so I would bet the under on the points total tonight.

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What's up, I'm Jacob. I grew up watching Peyton Manning play and stuck with the Broncos after he retired. I'm also probably the only Clippers fan you'll ever meet. I'm from Southern California but I'm a junior at the University of Michigan studying sport management. Beyond my passion for sports I play guitar, grill a mean rib eye, and enjoy gambling on pretty much everything.

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