Which storyline interests you the most from round two of Mavericks-Clippers?
Jeffrey: I am by far the most interested in how the Mavericks respond to the Marcus Morris antics of last year. There was no love lost between the Mavs and Morris, who irritated them throughout the series. Will the Mavs be better equipped to handle what Morris throws at them, figuratively and maybe literally? I guarantee if he steps on Luka’s ankle again there will be a bigger response than there was before. The mental toughness of this Mavs team will be tested against the Clippers, who like to stir the pot.
Ben: I’m interested in Kristaps Porzingis. Will he perform like he did last year in the bubble? Or will we get this year’s version, up and down from game to game? If he’s active on both ends of the court, the Mavericks have a chance. But if he tries to post up several times per game and is slow to help on defense, Dallas will miss the second round for the eleventh straight year.
Jordan: I’ll be watching the wings. The Mavericks live off Luka, but to upset the Clippers they will need key play from Tim Hardaway Jr,, Dorian Finney-Smith, and Josh Richardson. They all play different roles, some more important than others. But winning a series often happens in key small moments from role players. The Clippers are built defensively to shut down the perimeter, so Doncic will need these three locked in to counter that pressure.
Matthew: The most interesting storyline to me are the performances of Porzingis and George. Both are players who have outsized expectations but have thus far delivered undersized results. A dud of a series from either coupled with a loss could easily result in either or both looking for a new home.
David: The biggest storyline for me is Kristaps Porzingis’ health. It seems he is finally “healthy”, or should be by the time the series starts, but he was healthy last year when the playoffs started and then tore his meniscus. A lot of the Mavericks’ success revolves around his health and if he gets injured again it will just be another “what if” in Mavericks playoff history.
Tim: I’m sorry to be repetitive, but it has to be the health and play of Kristaps Porzingis. We saw what Luka can do last playoffs, he’s going to get his. A good majority of people view Luka as the best player on the floor. But the ceiling for this Mavs team is a lot higher if KP can be at his best and dialed in. I also think how KP plays + how the series plays out will shape the Mavs tough off-season decision regarding what they do with KP.
Kirk: I’ll be watching how much playing time Rajon Rondo gets and however Carlisle responds to it. Rondo should be washed and yet he seems to keep mattering after all this time. Rick’s gone out of his way to praise the guy, so maybe it’s nothing, but that relationship ended badly and Rondo’s been out to kick the butt of any Carlisle-Dallas team since.