Tonight’s game is the second in as many nights for the Mavericks and the last of a five-game road trip. After losing to the Kings in a game that heavily featured both teams’ benches, the Mavs will be looking to bounce back against the Los Angeles Clippers.
So what can we expect for tonight’s game?
The Mavericks have the Clippers’ number
That may be a bit of an exaggeration, but despite the Clippers’ superior record, the Mavs have somehow edged them out in this season’s series, winning two of the three games they’ve played so far.
Both of Dallas’ victories over the Clippers have been by a mere two points with Harrison Barnes playing a key role each time, first on offense (he sank a go-ahead jumper with less than four seconds left on the clock back in December) and more recently on defense, grabbing a crucial steal with (again) less than four seconds left in the game to preserve the Mavericks’ lead... a lead Barnes had generated just seconds before.
Hopefully this match won’t be quite as close, but if it is, at least it should be fun to watch!
What the game means for each team
The Mavericks, as you may have heard, have been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to play for in this game. As the Mavs Moneyball staff discussed earlier this week, the last few games are an opportunity to see how young guys develop and how different line-ups mesh.
For the Clippers, the stakes are a little higher. They’re currently half a game behind the Jazzer in the battle over the fourth and fifth seeds. Either way, the winner of that series is almost certainly looking at the Warriors in the second round, and neither team has any hope of reaching the third seed (or any fear of sinking to the sixth), but every little bit helps in the playoffs and the Clippers are probably going to be looking to improve their odds of home court in the first round.
Who’ll be on the court for the Mavs?
The Mavericks sat Dirk Nowitzki, Seth Curry, Wesley Matthews, and Salah Mejri last night. With the playoffs out of reach, the younger players will almost certainly be getting more time on the court, but although it’s doubtful Curry will return tonight (the Mavs certainly have an incentive to be conservative with injuries at this point) Matthews should be back on the court and Dirk may also play in limited minutes.
How to watch
Tonight’s game is another late one! The game tips off at 9:30 Central and can be seen on FSSW locally and ESPN nationally.