Only one game on tap for Friday in the Association but it is one no one should miss! The Clippers fight for their playoff lives against arguably the most talented young player in Luka Doncic. Will Dallas take the series in six or do we get to see a game seven for the first time this season? Let’s dive in! As a reminder, you can shop the latest odds to find the best line under the breakdown.
LA Clippers at Dallas Mavericks – Pick: LA Clippers –2.5
Best Odds for every Clippers at Mavericks Bet - 6/4/2021
Game five was all about coach Rick Carlisle’s magic tricks. Dallas’s coach decided to make a few big adjustments and rolled out a twin towers lineup that included Boban Marjanović as the starting center next to Kristaps Porzingis. The Mavs also switched to zone defense that certainly helped to confuse LA in the early going. Coach Carlisle also made good adjustments through the game and the Mavs ended up winning a close one putting them in a prime spot to close out the series on Friday.
No Answer for Luca
The deciding factor, in the end, was Luka Doncic, who scored 42 points to go with his 14 assists and 8 rebounds. Luka ruthlessly exploited Zubac’s weaknesses and he was rolling when the Clippers center was in the game. Those 17.5 minutes when the two shared the floor led to a 23-point overall deficit between the two squads.
On the other end, the Clippers were +10 in the 5.5 minutes when Luka was off the floor. There is not much LA can do when Luka is going off like this, but the Clippers continue to a good job shutting down everyone besides Doncic and Hardaway (20 pts). Besides this duo, everyone else on the Mavs is putting up less than 10 points including Kristaps Porzingis who finished the game with just 8 points.
Clippers Remaining Aggressive?
The most important adjustment the Clippers made in games three and four was that they decided to attack the paint a lot more. LA is a borderline top 10 offense in the paint, while the Mavs allow the 10th highest field goal percentage to opposing teams through the season.
In game three Kawhi & Co. were shooting 85% from the paint, in game five 66%, but in game six only 54%. That stat is in the bottom 16th percentile of the league and is a heavy outlier for this LA squad that is normally a trustworthy offense from four feet within the rim. We expect LA to keep attacking the rim at a high pace, but their efficiency in game 6 should get closer to their marks in games three and four.
LA did a great job defensively in game five keeping the Mavs to just 105 points. Dallas was shooting with a 62%, 70%, and 56% effective field goal percentage as a team in the first three games, while in the last two they were well below league average overall. The Clippers also had the better free throw rate across the series as they haven’t been giving up bad fouls, while they have been drawing plenty on the offensive end.
We have to give credit to Dallas for controlling the boards for most of the series and having the better overall turnover rate, but looking at the underlying metrics of the series tells us that the Clippers are on the right track to figuring out Dallas, their shots were just simply not falling in game five.
The whole LA bench scored a laughable 11 points through the entire game and Kawhi Leonard scored 10 fewer points than his average through the series. Kawhi was barely showing up through the game and was practically invisible till his late fourth-quarter heroics. That should not be the case going forward and we would bank on Kawhi having a stronger game six than what we’ve seen from him in game five. It is also fair to think that the Boban experiment won’t work again against a solid coach like Tyronn Lue.
In fact, Lue made some good mid-game adjustments in game five already and Boban ended up finishing the game as a -9 in just 20 minutes of play.
Clippers at Mavericks: How to Bet the Spread
We are expecting a massive improvement from the Clippers, allowing them to win game six, cover the spread, and force a game seven. There is significant line value betting LA against the spread as well as the bookmakers have overcorrected the spread towards Dallas.
The last time these two have played in American Airlines Center the Clippers closed as 3.5-point betting favorites with the exact same lineup and looking at the board you have to lay a full point less on Friday than that no matter which sportsbook you are placing your bet with!