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Looking at potential Clippers-Mavericks playoff matchup

With the NBA on hold, we take a look at what would be a Dallas-L.A. playoff matchup if the postseason started now.

LA Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard reacts after a basket against the Oklahoma City Thunder during the second quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena.  Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

It’s like Day 18 or something of the self-isolation, quarantine or whatever. We haven’t had basketball since March 11, which is pretty much three weeks ago to the day. So yeah, almost a month without basketball. Tough times. So with the League on pause, we can make a relatively safe assumption that when basketball does return, we could go right into the postseason. If that’s the case, we already know what matchups we’ll see in the first round. One of four seemingly solid matchups in the West includes the Los Angeles Clippers hosting the Dallas Mavericks in a 2-7 series. Let’s break it down:

Mavericks vs. Clippers series breakdown

Clippers record: 44-20
Mavericks record: 40-27
Season series: LAC 2-0

The Western Conference standings as they stand are pretty tight. We likely wouldn’t see much pushback from the Clippers for the No. 1 seed over the Los Angeles Lakers. The Clips are 5.5 games back of the Lakers with 18 games left in the season. The Mavs, if the regular season comes back, could finish anywhere from the 7-seed to the 4-seed. So it’s kind of a tough spot for the Mavericks during the break. Dallas knows it could cost itself a shot at advancing by having to play the Clippers in the first round.

If we look at the matchup, yeah, it’s not great for the Mavericks. The Clippers have taken care of Dallas twice this season, once with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George and the other time without George in the lineup. The Mavs were healthy for both matchups and have since lost Dwight Powell and Jalen Brunson for the season. The time off should help Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis get to 100%, but the same can be said for PG-13 and Kawhi, which is huge. Leonard carried the Raptors to a ship last season and this layoff benefits the Clips the most in the West.

For me, the Clippers can’t be judge as much on their regular season numbers. Those numbers you ask? Well, the Clips are top 5 in both offensive and defensive rating. They have arguably the deepest bench in the NBA and have two superstars — one of which just won a title. Both are above-average defenders and Kawhi is probably the best on-ball defender in the NBA in the playoffs. People may view this series with the potential to be close given the Clippers up-and-down regular season. I don’t view it that way. I expect the Clippers to enter the postseason and become a much more consistent team. They were built for the playoffs. More depth, more size, more experience should help the Clippers advance relatively easy. Nothing against Doncic, but he isn’t ready to carry a team on a postseason run just yet.