Dallas Mavericks: Series tied 2-2 against the Clippers

The Dallas Mavericks need to embrace the grind the rest of this series. Photo Courtesy: Michael Kolch

By DaVince “Dino” Wright

How Did We Get Here?
The Dallas Mavericks went up one game against the Clippers and seemed to be in the driver’s seat in the series. I predicted that with a Game 4 victory the Mavericks would take total charge of this series. I can truly say that I was wrong. The Clippers found their footing and outlasted the Mavericks 116-111. Clippers forward Paul George and guard James Harden scored a combined 66 points to tie the series up 2-2 in Dallas. Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving scored a game high 40 points in a losing effort for the home team. Dallas will need to get back on track for Game 5 on the road in Los Angeles. Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard will be a game time decision for Game 5. If he plays it will make it difficult for the Mavericks to keep him in check. Kawhi Leonard is the catalyst for the Clippers at home. Dallas will need to control the boards and get stops in transition. I’m still taking the Mavericks in this series, but it looks as if this one could go 7 games easily. Let’s take a closer look at the rest of the games between the Mavericks and Clippers in the first round of the playoffs.

Game 5 
Dallas Mavericks vs Los Angeles Clippers
Date: May 1
Time: 9:00 PM
This will be the swing game of this series. The winner of Game 5 usually wins the series. Dallas has already proven to the Clippers that playing at home doesn’t make you safe. Dallas won Game 2 in LA by 3. Dallas controlled to pace of the game while out rebounding the Clippers by 6 during that game. If Dallas grabs 5+ rebounds they could easily win this one. Keep an eye on the Mavericks bench for this game. I’m taking Dallas by 4! Keep in mind that the Clippers are favored in this game.
Final Score: Mavericks 129 – Clippers 125

Game 6 
Los Angeles Clippers vs Dallas Mavericks
Date: May 3
Time: 8:30 PM
This game will be the game to either launch the Mavericks into the next round or allow the Clippers to move into the next round of the playoffs. The winner of Game 5 will have a hard time finding their footing in this game. Dallas plays extremely well when their backs are against the wall. Bench play will be huge in this one. I want to see the Mavericks close the Clippers out but if the Mavericks lose Game 5, they will win Game 6 at home and head back to LA for Game 7. Dallas is 25-16 at home while the Clippers are 25-16 on the road. The winning team will be the team that creates more turnovers and gets to the foul line more than the opposing team. I’m taking the Mavericks by 10!
Final Score: Clippers 122 – Mavericks 132

Game 7 – If Necessary
Dallas Mavericks vs Los Angeles Clippers
Date: May 5
Time: TBD
If it makes it to Game 7, both teams will have their hands full with the intensity of winning and getting to the next series. The referees will call it pretty tight. Dallas can win this one if their defense is solid and by controlling the shot clock on offense. Defense will be key for both teams and if this game is close in the final 4 minutes of the fourth quarter, Kyrie Irving will need the ball in his hands. Otherwise… the Clippers will move on and the Mavericks will have a long flight home.
Final Score: Mavericks 120 – Clippers 126