The Los Angeles Clippers take on the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday night for the third and final time this regular season. LA has won the previous two encounters and will try to sweep the Mavs for the first time since 1994.
Both Clippers and Mavericks have already clinched the playoffs and could meet in the first round of the upcoming postseason. Therefore, let’s see what can we expect from these two Western Conference rivals in their ultimate H2H clash of the 2019-20 regular season.
The Clippers miss Montrezl Harrell (18.6 PPG, 7.1 RPG) due to personal reasons, while Patrick Beverley (7.9 PPG, 5.2 RPG) is doubtful with a calf injury.
The Mavericks entered the bubble without Dwight Powell (9.4 PPG, 5.7 RPG), Willie Cauley-Stein, Courtney Lee (4.5 PPG, 1.3 RPG), and Jalen Brunson (8.2 PPG, 3.3 APG), while Seth Curry (12.5 PPG, 45.0 3P%) is doubtful to play Thursday night due to a leg injury.
Los Angeles opened as a 4.5-point fave with a total of 228.0 points on Sugarhouse. Dallas is listed as a +160 money line underdog on BetAmerica.
What’s at Stake?
The Clippers and Mavericks could easily meet again in the first round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs. LA is the No. 2 seed at the moment, one game ahead of the Denver Nuggets, while the Lakers are unattainable atop of the conference standings. The Mavs are No. 7 seed, trailing a couple of games behind Oklahoma City.
Los Angeles is coming off a surprising 117-115 loss to the Phoenix Suns this past Tuesday. It was their second defeat in three appearances in the bubble. Dallas has also dropped two of its three contests since the restart, but the Mavs are coming off a 114-110 overtime victory over the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday.
The Clippers are undefeated in three straight encounters with the Mavericks, covering the spread on all three occasions. They are 10-5 straight up and 8-6-1 ATS in the previous 15 meetings with Dallas, while the under is 9-5-1 in that span.
This season, both duels between LA and Dallas went in the under. The Clippers beat the Mavs 114-99 as 1.5-point road favorites with a total of 225.5 points and 110-107 as 2.5-point road dogs with a total of 231.5 points.
The Mavericks had a terrible shooting day against the Kings, making just 36.7% of their field goals and 22.0% of their 3-pointers. They still won the game thanks to Luka Doncic’s triple-double. Luka accounted for 34 points, 20 rebounds, and 12 assists, while Kristaps Porzingis added 22 points and seven boards.
The Mavs lean heavily on these two guys, and that’s a big problem when they meet a tough team with deep rotation. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George will be all over Luka Doncic, so the Mavs have to shoot the ball well if they want to stand a chance against the Clippers.
Dallas’ offensive rating of 116.5 points per 100 possessions is the best in the NBA, while the Clippers are third with 113.6 points per 100 possessions. On the other side of the ball, the Mavs allow 110.7 points per 100 possessions (17th in the league), while the Clippers surrender 107.2 (4th).
The stake is huge for both teams, so I expect to see a close game. The Mavs have already played a couple of overtimes in the bubble, and another loss could mean they will finish at the seventh spot in the west. On the other side, the Clippers’ second seed will be in jeopardy if they lose to the Mavs.
I would lean on the Clippers’ defense in this one. They also have more weapons off the bench than the Mavericks, so I would take LA to cover.
The betting trends suggest the under on the totals, but I would avoid the totals in this game. The Mavs can post some serious numbers on the scoreboard, of course, if they shoot the ball better than they did against the Kings. The Clippers set the franchise record with 25 triples against the Pelicans, so I would stick with the spread.