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ESPN predicts the Mavericks-Clippers first round series

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Dallas is a huge underdog once again

LA Clippers v Dallas Mavericks Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images

ESPN has polled its staff to predict the outcome of the upcoming playoffs, as it has done for the past few years. 16 voters submitted their predictions for every upcoming series, including the Mavericks and Clippers faceoff in the first round. There are few playoff series I am anticipating more than this one, bias aside. Last year’s series was competitive and exciting, even as Dallas battled injuries and missed a few key players. Now, we’ll get to see the rested squads square off with the added thrill of it being a rematch.

In last year’s edition of the predictions, Dallas was not a popular pick — to put it lightly. Here’s how the voters felt before the 2020 series:

Jerry Bembry: Clippers in 6

Nick DePaula: Clippers in 6

Nick Friedell: Clippers in 5

Andrew Han: Clippers in 5

Andrew Lopez: Clippers in 6

Zach Lowe: Clippers in 6

Tim MacMahon: Clippers in 6

Bobby Marks: Clippers in 5

Dave McMenamin: Clippers in 6

Kevin Pelton: Clippers in 5

Jorge Sedano: Clippers in 5

Ramona Shelburne: Clippers in 5

Andre’ Snellings: Clippers in 6

Marc Spears: Clippers in 6

Eric Woodyard: Clippers in 5

Royce Young: Clippers in 6

Ohm Youngmisuk: Clippers in 5

That’s right, all 17 voters picked the Clippers to take down the Mavericks. This could have been expected in a 7 vs. 2 seed matchup, and the Clippers winning in six games was not only a popular pick but the correct one.

But have expectations around Dallas changed heading into this series after Luka Doncic had another All-NBA season, Kristaps Porzingis had stretches where he put up great efficiency, and the Mavericks’ role players didn’t regress as drastically as some expected? Let’s take a look at this year’s edition of the predictions:

Jerry Bembry: Clippers in 6

Nick DePaula: Clippers in 6

Nick Friedell: Clippers in 6

Kirk Goldsberry: Clippers in 7

Tim Legler: Clippers in 6

Tim MacMahon: Clippers in 7

Bobby Marks: Clippers in 6

Dave McMenamin: Clippers in 5

Monica McNutt: Clippers in 6

Kevin Pelton: Clippers in 6

Jorge Sedano: Clippers in 6

Ramona Shelburne: Clippers in 5

André Snellings: Clippers in 5

Marc J. Spears: Clippers in 6

Royce Young: Mavericks in 7

Ohm Youngmisuk: Clippers in 6

The short answer is not really. The Mavericks get some love from Royce Young, making him the only person to pick Dallas out of the 16 questioned. If there’s some improvement in the numbers, only three voters picked the Clippers to win in 5 games this year compared to the eight that guessed so last year.

If these predictions end up being as accurate as they were last year, it looks like Dallas is headed for its sixth-straight first-round exit. What do you think the series outcome will be? Leave your prediction below.