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What it will take for the Clippers to beat the Mavericks in their first-round series

The Clippers will attempt to make up for their 2020 exit starting with a playoff rematch against Dallas.

Utah Jazz v LA Clippers
Paul George of the LA Clippers and Kawhi Leonard of the LA Clippers listen to the national anthem before the game against the Utah Jazz on February 19, 2021 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California.
Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

The No. 4 seed Los Angeles Clippers get a rematch from last season’s bubble in the first round of the playoffs against the No. 5 seed Dallas Mavericks. The Clippers will be looking to fulfill championship aspirations after a disastrous exit from last year’s playoffs.

Clippers keys to victory

Kawhi Leonard and Paul George will be tasked a lot of responsibility, but the Clippers will need production from role players in this series. Lou Williams was terrible at the end of last season’s playoffs and will need to provide LA with a spark offensively. Serge Ibaka brings plenty of playoff experience and will be tasked with limiting Kristaps Porzingis. Leonard and George will likely take turns defending Luka Doncic. As long as the Clippers perform up to their capabilities, they’ll take the series easily.

Clippers vs. Mavericks series odds

Clippers: -400
Mavericks: +300

As expected, the Clippers are favored to win the series. Doncic and Porzingis will feel they have a shot after the latter exited last season’s playoff series with an injury, but LA has the better star duo. Leonard and George will view this series as a chance to make a statement to the rest of the league.

NBA Championship odds

Clippers: +500
Mavericks: +5000

It felt like the Clippers were lost in the championship conversation for much of the season, likely due to their embarrassing collapse against the Nuggets last year after holding a 3-1 lead. Leonard can become a free agent after this playoff run, making the next few months vital for Los Angeles.

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