Mavericks Prepare for Game 3 Against Clippers

Kawhi Leonard #2 of the LA Clippers dribbles past P.J. Washington #25 of the Dallas Mavericks
Kawhi Leonard #2 of the LA Clippers dribbles past P.J. Washington #25 of the Dallas Mavericks | Image by Harry How/Getty Images

The Dallas Mavericks are set to take on the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night in game three of the NBA Playoffs after splitting the first two games in Los Angeles.

After stealing home-court advantage with a road win in game two, the Mavericks are looking to maintain the advantage with a win on Friday night. Game three will be the first home game for the Mavericks during the 2024 NBA Playoffs, with tipoff scheduled for 7 p.m. CT. The game will be available to watch on ESPN.

The Mavericks are coming into the game as a 4.5-point favorite, with the over/under for total points currently set at 211.5 points, according to CBS Sports.

Both teams are coming off a game that featured poor overall shooting, with the Mavericks shooting just 42.1% from the field and 66.7% from the free-throw line, resulting in a gritty 96-93 win in game two.

Although Luka Doncic has continued to be a game-changing player for the Mavericks on offense, his most notable effort in game two came from his defense.

Doncic held the Clippers to just 2-17 shooting while matched up as the primary defender, with the two made baskets coming from James Harden and Amir Coffee, according to ESPN’s Tim McMahon.

Maintaining a high level of defensive play will be necessary for the Mavericks to pull off the win at home in game three.

The biggest X-factor coming into the game will be Frisco-native PJ Washington, who also played a major role in the team’s most recent win.

Washington accumulated 18 points and six rebounds in game two while playing stellar defense, helping the Mavericks hold the Clippers to just 36.8% from the field and 26.7% from three.

Head Coach Jason Kidd said after game two that he was most proud of the team’s commitment on the defensive side of the game, noting that they “played 48 minutes of physical basketball.”

“Both teams were under 100. It was ’90s basketball at its best,” he said, according to Athlon Sports.

Kidd further detailed how the Mavericks must continue to build upon the defense in game two, with the addition of improved shooting to win in game three.

“We got to protect home, understanding that you can be beaten at home. We got to take care of the ball [and] play with pace. We got to understand how important it is to make open shots against them, and then defensively, we got to make it as tough as possible,” he said, according to Athlon Sports.

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