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3 things to think about before the Dallas Mavericks try to take a lead over the Clippers in game 5

Can 2-2 become 3-2 for the good guys?

LA Clippers v Dallas Mavericks - Game Four Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

It’s been something like 30 hours since Luka Doncic’s game winning shot in overtime. I’m still tired. It was one of the most exhilarating and emotionally draining games I’ve sat through in years. It was so, so awesome.

But the thing with this playoff format is that there really aren’t any off days. Dallas plays again, Tuesday night. Since they had a day game Sunday, this will be the longest break between games for the Mavericks since the playoffs started, but only by a few hours.

It’s on to the next one.

Will Kristaps Porzingis play? And if so, will the Mavericks keep the same line up?

It seems that Porzingis will be a game-time decision, because of course he will. That means a day’s worth of wondering on our end, though the Mavericks likely have a game plan in place for either outcome.

Let’s make an assumption that Porzingis will be back for game five. If that’s the case it’ll be interesting to see if Dallas sticks with the “big ball” line up with both KP and Maxi Kleber. Dallas is understandably worried about Kawhi Leonard and Kleber’s done an admirable job through four games, despite Leonard averaging 33 points a game. Dallas has two games of data (losses) where the big line up didn’t matter much and one game of data (a win!) that showed it worked well.

I suspect they try it again just because the option of going smaller comes with a different set of challenges.


Luka Doncic will have a hard time topping his game four performance and yet he’ll have to do something amazing again if Dallas wants to have a chance. Doncic’s hitting well north of his season average from beyond the three point arc, so expect him to keep firing from deep. Hopefully, Doncic can both get to the line (he only went five times against the Clippers in game four) and hit; thus far in the playoffs he’s struggled, hitting just 69% of his attempts, well below his season average of 76%.

Game four might have been his best game defensively. He’ll need to keep that effort high to give Dallas a chance at stopping the stellar Clipper offense.

Can Trey Burke and Seth Curry keep throwing flames?

Trey Burke is shooting 58% from the floor and 50% from three. Seth Curry is shooting 65% from the floor and 56% from three. It’s hard to contextualize how absurd this is. But unless Maxi Kleber and Dorian Finney-Smith get it together on offense, Dallas will need both these guards to continue taking and making good shots.

Where to watch

Game five will be on TNT and starts at 8:00 CST.