In a rematch of a first-round series from last season’s Orlando bubble, the No. 4 seed Los Angeles Clippers face the No. 5 seed Dallas Mavericks. The Clippers took last season’s series 4-2, but the Mavericks will feel Kristaps Porzingis’ injury played a major factor in that outcome. This time, everyone should be healthy when the series tips off.
LA is the heavy favorite behind Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. After some speculation they manipulated results to avoid the Lakers in the first round under the guise of player management, the Clippers will want to come out strong. And while no one will explicitly say it, this team will also want to make up for an embarrassing exit from the bubble in what many felt would be a championship season. The Clippers are just behind the Lakers to win the West and are third-favorite to win the NBA title, according to DraftKings Sportsbook. Luka Doncic continues to ascend into the upper tier of NBA talents and with Porzingis healthy, the Mavs will pose a strong challenge. If Doncic can repeat his Game 4 heroics early, Dallas will get a confidence boost and could score the upset.
Who will win the series?
Frankly, Leonard and George are on a mission this season. The duo failed to score a single point in the fourth quarter of LA’s Game 7 loss to Denver last season, blowing a 3-1 lead in the second round series. After moving heaven and Earth to join forces in Los Angeles, that type of exit looks really bad for both players. They’ll be locked in and that’s bad news for the Mavs. Doncic can make it a series, but the Clippers are the favorite to wrap this up.
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