What a year the last week has been, which fits nicely with the decade the 2020’s turned out to be. But basketball is back on and the Mavericks have a chance to force a game seven against the Los Angeles Clippers. We already tried this preview thing once a few days ago, but thought it was worth trying again.
So, with that in mind, here’s some things to consider prior to the game...
How does the Kristaps Porzingis injury affect the Mavericks?
Dallas has been running on fumes for weeks, but when a player like Luka Doncic is involved, anything is possible. The sheer volume of injuries to the Mavericks roster is rather preposterous: they are down three rotation players to injury (Jalen Brunson, Dwight Powell, and now Porzingis). Add in that Justin Jackson and Delon Wright have effectively played themselves out of the rotation, the Mavericks are playing against a stacked deck.
Yet the Porzingis injury also provides some clarification. Instead of wondering for days if Porzingis is able to play, knowing he’s out allows for more straight forward game planning and acceptance of roles.
After running into the Clipper buzzsaw in game five, the Mavericks either feel up against the ropes or without expectation as they battle a much better, healthier team in Los Angeles.
Luka’s response to his game five clunker
After a historic performance in game four, the Clippers goaded Doncic into a rough shooting performance (6-of-17) and more turnovers (5) than assists (4). They closed off his passing lanes on drives and ignored the roll man on all pick and rolls.
As mentioned previously, Dallas is limited elsewhere offensively but it’s worth watching this game alone to see how Doncic problem solves the voracious Clipper defense. He rarely makes the same mistakes one game to the next, and he’s sure to want to rise to the challenge of playing against such a talented defensive line up.
The Dallas role players need to show up on both ends of the floor
It’s well established at this point that every player past Doncic is likely playing two to three spots higher in the Dallas rotation (so more minutes and different role), but if the Mavericks want to have any chance at taking this series to seven, it’ll be because Maxi Kleber and Dorian Finney Smith hit shots and a lot of them.
By and large, the Maverick roster has outperformed my expectations but to extend this series, they’ll have to keep doing so.
Where to watch
Game six is on ESPN and Fox Sports Southwest at 2:30 pm CST.