Dallas Mavericks Vs. Los Angeles Clippers
Staples Center (Los Angeles, CA)
7:30 PM TNT and Fox Sports Prime Ticket
Thursday night will mark the fourth and last time this season, that the Clippers and Mavericks will duke it out in front of the Staples Center crowd. The Clippers so far won the season series, and are looking to make it a clean sweep tonight. The one thing that no is talking about is that the Clippers are a real threat going into the playoffs and to put the icing on the cake, they only lost two games in the month of March. They battled through chemistry issues earlier in the season, but Doc Rivers and company are looking to ride that momentum for the last five games of the season. While other contending teams are battling through injuries and having trouble finding chemistry this late into the season, the Clippers seem to be peaking at the right time, while the Mavericks are trying to squeak into the playoffs. The season has been different for both teams, but the Mavericks are in desperate need of a win and can’t afford to drop any games, no matter who the opponent is.
The last time these two teams met, the Clippers rallied from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter to win the game. Both teams also displayed tons of physical play and combined for 6 technical fouls. This game should be no different. The Clippers big three were a big reason why they won the game, and are finding out that grinding out wins is especially important going into the playoffs. Games that have a playoff atmosphere are good practice for the Clippers at this point. It shows their true identity and gives them different scenarios to build upon. Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan are going to have to continue their trend of dominance against the Mavericks going into Thursday night’s game in order to hold down the third seed in the west. Besides the Clippers big three loves going up against the Mavs! Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan all average over 20 points a game against the Mavs in each contest.
The Clippers now hold the third best record in the west behind the Spurs and the Thunder and are looking to stay there. As the season has progressed, the Clippers like the Spurs have kind of flown under the radar. Blake Griffin has been dominant all year-long and has really changed his perception as a leader. He’s going to have to continue that trend throughout the playoffs.The Mavericks mean while have been battling to stay in the playoff hunt for the majority of the season. The Mavericks do not have the same qualities or talent as the Clippers do, but savvy veteran Dirk Nowitzki has constantly displayed a willingness to lead his team to victory. The Mavericks are not a feared team in the west, but will likely give one of the top three seeds a headache in the first round if they can get in. The Clippers on the other hand must keep the positive momentum going despite their nagging injuries to key guys. This game should be exciting surrounded by a playoff atmosphere, as playoff positioning remains on the line and lurking in the distance. Injury notes: For the Clippers J.J. Redick, Jamal Crawford, and Danny Granger are all probable for the game.
Prediction: Clippers 109 – Mavericks 101. The Mavericks keep it close, but the Clippers pull away at the end.