Los Angeles Clippers vs Dallas Mavericks 8/22/20: Starting Lineups, Matchup Preview, Betting Odds

Los Angeles Clippers vs Dallas Mavericks Preview

Game 3 was an eventful contest in this series as the Clippers took a 2-1 series lead with plenty of drama along the way. Luka Doncic had an ankle injury that caused millions of hearts across the nation to simultaneously skip a beat. Thankfully for Dallas fans, the initial prognostication on the injury looks as good as could have been expected. Doncic said he was lucky to have sprained his left ankle rather than his right and he still has a chance to play in Game 4 despite being currently listed as questionable. Obviously, Doncic has been the engine that has driven the Mavericks’ historic offensive output. Dallas already faced a tall task in competing with arguably the most talented roster in the NBA top-to-bottom, and without Doncic they might be toast. With Doncic in and out of the lineup, Kristaps Porzingis stepped up with 34 points and 13 rebounds to keep the Mavs in the game until late in the fourth quarter. With an ailing Doncic, Porzingis needs to play the best basketball of his life to keep the Mavericks alive.

For the Clippers, Kawhi Leonard had another exceptional game with 36 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists, and 2 steals. Leonard can be the best basketball player in the world when he’s competing at his best, and he turns into a different beast in the playoffs. His playoff level-up has been sorely needed by the Clips as Leonard’s co-star, Paul George, has not been at his best in this series. George had another brutal shooting night and he’ll need to play better if the Clippers want to have a deep playoff run. Landry Shamet had 18 points in a surprise start in place of Patrick Beverley and Montrezl Harrell returned to the fold with 13 points in 18 minutes. The Clippers have faced similar lineup inconsistency all season but as long as Kawhi is playing like the Terminator every night they will be just fine.

TV Schedule

Date: 8/23/20
Time: 3:30 PM ET
Arena: AdventHealth Arena, Orlando, FL
Channel: ESPN

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Injuries

Clippers: Patrick Beverley (questionable)
Mavericks: Luka Doncic (questionable), Trey Burke (probable), Kristaps Porzingis (probable), Courtney Lee (out), Dwight Powell (out), Jalen Brunson (out), Willie Cauley-Stein (out)

Clippers Starting 5

PG: Landry Shamet
SG: Paul George
SF: Kawhi Leonard
PF: Marcus Morris
C: Ivica Zubac

Clippers Analysis

Los Angeles ClippersPatrick Beverley is the only player on the Clippers’ injury report at the moment and it’s unclear if the veteran, hard-nosed point guard will be available for Game 4 after missing Games 2 and 3. In Beverley’s absence, the Clippers started Reggie Jackson who was ineffective as he only had 11 points and 1 assist in 26 minutes. In Game 4, the Clippers shifted the lineup and started Landry Shamet next to Paul George in the backcourt. Shamet was critical to the Clippers’ win in Game 3 as he had 18 points on 7-13 shooting from the field and 3-7 from 3-point range. He had the third-best plus/minus rating on the team at +9 points for the game. Shamet will likely draw another start if Beverley can’t play. George needs to get his rhythm back in the worst way as he followed up his dreadful Game 2 (4-17 from the field, 2-10 from 3) with an equally brutal Game 3 (3-16 from the field, 1-8 from 3). PG is now shooting just 21.2% from the field and 16.7% from 3-point range in his last two games. He’s going to find his form eventually but this is one of the worst stretches of form I can remember in his career.

Of course, the reason the Clippers have remained incredibly competitive has been Kawhi Leonard as he’s now averaging 33.3 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 5.3 assists per game, somehow besting his historic numbers from last season’s playoffs across the board. Kawhi just continues to elevate his play year after year and he turns into the Terminator when the playoffs roll around. He has the opportunity to cement himself among some of the best players of all time if he continues this type of play. At the other forward spot, Marcus Morris has been integral to the Clippers’ offense as Paul George has faltered. Morris is averaging 15.7 points and 7.3 rebounds per game while he has shot 56.3% from the field and 53.3% from 3-point range. His on-ball defense on Luka Doncic has also been impressive as it has allowed Kawhi and PG to act as off-ball deterrents. Ivica Zubac deserves more credit, and perhaps more playing time, for his ability to protect the rim, rebound, and score. He was one of the heroes of Game 3 as he had 15 points and 6 rebounds in a series-high 30 minutes.

Mavericks Starting 5

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

Mavericks Analysis

Dallas MavericksI’m leaving Luka Doncic in the starting lineup for the Mavericks for now even though his ability to play in Game 4 is in serious doubt after his scary ankle sprain in Game 3. Doncic holds the keys to the castle in the Mavericks’ historic offense and if he’s unable to play this team is going to struggle to compete with an elite Clippers squad. Keep an eye on pregame shootaround as we will know more about his status as the game approaches. If Doncic is unable to play, Trey Burke would likely get the start in the backcourt. Burke was one of the heroes of the Mavericks’ Game 2 win as he had 16 points, 2 rebounds, and 3 assists off the bench. Seth Curry would also be a strong candidate to start if Doncic is unable to play. Tim Hardaway Jr. will start at the other guard spot for the Mavs. He has averaged 19.0 points per game so far in the playoffs.

If Luka Doncic is unable to play, Kristaps Porzingis would take on a much more significant role in the team’s offense. Porzingis responded in Game 3 with 34 points and 13 rebounds. He’s only averaging 0.7 assists per game in the playoffs and obviously doesn’t have nearly the same shot-creating ability as Luka. Porzingis is joined by Maxi Kleber in the frontcourt, and both players are capable of playing at either power forward or center. Rick Carlisle has preferred Kleber to start as Kawhi Leonard’s primary defender due to his physicality and solid mobility for his size. Kleber has only had a positive plus/minus rating in one of the team’s three games in the series but he’ll likely continue to start. Finally, rounding out the starting lineup is breakout forward Dorian Finney-Smith. The fourth-year veteran went undrafted in the 2016 draft but has carved out an important role as a starter on this squad. He’s the best defensive matchup the Mavs can throw at the Clippers’ elite wing talent and is a solid 3-point shooter as well.

Clippers vs Mavericks DFS Angle

Clippers vs Mavericks Betting Odds

Clippers Spread: -8.0
Clippers Moneyline: -370
Mavericks Spread: +8.0
Mavericks Moneyline: +295
Over/Under Points Total: 231.5

After the Clippers’ convincing 8-point Game 3 victory and Luka Doncic’s concerning injury, the betting market has reacted by putting the Clippers at the best odds they’ve been at all series. However, I am hopeful Doncic will be able to play and the Mavs have looked like the better team for much of this series. If Doncic is available, and only if he is, I would bet on the Mavericks against the spread. If Doncic plays, I’m taking the Clippers by 8 points and putting their ML in every parlay I run on the day. I would also lean towards the over on this points total as two of the three games in this series have gone over 231.5 points. I expect the Clippers to win this game and move into a commanding 3-1 series lead.

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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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