Mavericks vs. Clippers Series Odds, Matchup Preview, & Analysis

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Mavericks vs. Clippers Series Odds, Matchup Preview, & Analysis

The Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Clippers will meet in the first round of the playoffs for the third time since the 2020 postseason, and this matchup represents a serious roadblock for both franchises in terms of NBA Finals odds. Los Angeles owns home-court advantage due to its slightly superior regular season record, so it will host game one on April 21. 

These teams enter this series on different notes. The Clippers ranked 22nd in defensive rating after the All-Star break and had more losses than wins. On the other hand, the Mavericks went 12-3 over their final 15 games with the league’s top defense during that stretch. It will be worth monitoring whether the recent play of both squads creeps into the series. 

Mavericks vs. Clippers series odds

Although the Mavericks are the lower seed, online sportsbooks have them as slight favorites to win the series at odds of around -118, for an implied probability of about 55%. The series spread also sits at Dallas -1.5. In other words, the Mavericks must win the series in six games or fewer to cover that line. 

Finally, online sportsbooks have tagged a six-game series as the most likely outcome based on the odds. They also slightly lean toward a seven-game over a five-game series. 

Mavericks vs. Clippers game 1 odds

Although Dallas is a slight favorite to win the series, Los Angeles holds a slight edge in game one odds at online sportsbooks.

Mavericks playoff preview

Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving are both elite scorers and playmakers who generate hyper-efficient shot quality, and Dallas has finally surrounded them with enhancing pieces. Daniel Gafford is one of the best lob threats in the league, and PJ Washington and Derrick Jones Jr. fill the 3-and-D mold with a touch of self-created scoring. Meanwhile, offseason addition Dante Exum keeps the bench stabilized through his connective passing and elite outside shooting. 

The Mavericks have been dominant recently with their new pieces meshing. However, they cannot take this slumping Clippers team lightly. Kawhi Leonard has averaged 31 points per game on absurd 67% true shooting over his past 13 playoff games, so limiting his scoring outbursts may be the key for Dallas here. 

Mavericks’ biggest strength

It’s not a what but a who. Doncic joined Tiny Archibald as the second player in NBA history to average at least 33 points per game and nine assists per game for an entire season. Not only is Doncic a premier isolation scorer and three-level threat, but he’s also an all-time passer with absurd court vision. With him on the court, the Mavericks’ offense possesses an extremely high floor. Plus, his game translates to the postseason, as only Michael Jordan has averaged more career playoff points per game. 

Mavericks’ biggest weakness

The Mavericks lack a lockdown point-of-attack defense. While Irving and Doncic are both decent defenders when engaged, there are clear limitations on their ability to neutralize pick-and-rolls and defend on an island. Because the Clippers thrive in isolation, it wouldn’t be surprising in the slightest to see them hunt Dallas’ guards in an effort to wrench open driving lanes. Plus, it forces Doncic and Irving to spend extra energy, thus potentially wearing them out by the fourth quarter and reducing the chances of a scoring explosion.

Clippers playoff preview

Los Angeles is built on a pair of versatile wings in Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Both stars can create their own shot, score efficiently, make advanced passing reads, and defend numerous positions. Luka Doncic typically dominates opposing guards due to his size, so Leonard’s and George’s length will likely be crucial for Los Angeles’ defensive game plan in this series. 

Former MVPs James Harden and Russell Westbrook pack a powerful playmaking punch and inject pick-and-roll creation into lineups, although their shots can be very volatile. Ivica Zubac complements them as an effective roller and screener, too. Supplementing these five are Norman Powell and Terance Mann, who provide spot-up shooting and cutting. 

Clippers’ biggest strength

When playoff defenses bring the pace to a screeching halt and blow up planned actions, it’s crucial to possess game-changers who have the ability to make something out of nothing. Of the 56 players with at least 100 isolation possessions this season, Leonard and Harden ranked first and second, respectively, in points per isolation possession. Plus, George came in at 14th to round out their big three. The fact that they can score off the bounce and target weaker defenders on the fly is a huge asset. 

Clippers’ biggest weakness

Los Angeles’ point-of-attack defense is also a significant weakness but to a higher degree, especially when opponents drag Harden into the action. In addition to being a listless defender, he struggles to navigate screens and recover. And although Zubac protects the rim at a high level, his lackluster mobility means the Clippers may not be able to blitz high ball screens, thus allowing Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving room for pull-up threes. It’s an issue that has plagued them all season, as they surrendered the 12th largest off-the-dribble 3-point frequency in the league. If Harden does not maximize his effort and remain engaged on the defensive end, then Los Angeles’ defense may be in serious trouble.