The Dallas Mavericks will try to bounce back from a loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder when they travel west to take on the Los Angeles Clippers. It’s the start of a four-game West Coast swing, and the second stop of a five-game road trip.
Health will be a huge factor—Dorian Finney-Smith, Maxi Kleber, and Josh Green remain out. Finney-Smith and Green did travel with the team, though. Luka Doncic is listed as questionable with a sore left ankle. As of this writing, Paul George and Luke Kennard are listed as out, but that could change.
At 23-18, Dallas sits at fourth in the Western Conference. The Clippers are 21-21, which puts them at seventh. This is the second meeting for the two teams this season. The Mavericks won the previous matchup in Dallas 103-101.
Here are three things to watch for:
The Mavericks are scrapping a bit, having lost two of their last three. But overall they’re playing pretty well, especially considering the bad injury luck they’ve endured lately. They’ve won eight of their last ten games, and while the end of the bench players haven’t exactly set the world on fire, they’ve done just enough to give Doncic the support he needs.
The Clippers, on the other hand, are spiraling. They’ve lost six in a row, and seven of their last ten. If the Mavericks can come out on fire and punch the Clippers in the mouth early, they may fold quickly.
Get to the line—and then make those free throws
The Clippers are one of the best teams at not fouling. They’re fifth in the NBA, only allowing 22 free throws per game. The Mavericks, on the other hand, are second in the league at free throw attempts. Dallas needs to put the pressure on the Clippers and attack the rim. And, importantly, actually hit those free throws. The Mavericks’ free throw struggles are well documented. They’re 27th in the NBA in free throw percentage. Against a tough defensive team, they can’t just leave easy points at the charity stripe and expect to win.
Be aggressive on defense
Last game, the Mavericks turned the Clippers over 21 times. They scored 28 points off those turnovers. Dallas needs to stay aggressive on defense and force the Clippers into errors. The Clippers will often oblige—they’re 20th in the NBA in turnovers. With the Mavericks missing so many key rotation players, any easy points should be welcomed. If they can turn the Clippers over and get out on a fast break, it could be the difference it what will probably be a close game.
How to watch
The game can be seen on Bally Sports Southwest or League Pass.