Dallas Mavericks vs. Los Angeles Clippers – NBA, June 2, 2021

By Dean McHugh in NBA
| June 2, 2021 8:25 am PDT

The Clippers host the Mavericks in game five of the first round in the NBA playoffs. With the tie level at 2-2, it is all to play for in this crucial encounter. A win here for either team would surely see them put one foot in the Conference semi-finals.

It’s LA who has all the momentum after winning the last two games in the series but perhaps since both teams won two games on the road, it will be the Mavericks the happier of the two now that the tie heads back to Los Angeles. So, what was the turning point in this tie? I believe the Mavericks choked. They thrived on being the underdogs of the series, and at 2-0 up, they lost that tag.

It appears they also couldn’t handle the pressure of returning home to Dallas and playing in front of their fans. Well, with the Clippers taking all the momentum into this game, the Mavericks have got their wish, and they are undoubtedly the underdogs once again.

However, with that said, they can still take encouragement with the knowledge that they have an excellent record on the road against the Clippers by winning four of the last five games, which includes the previous three.

Let’s look at the betting trends for each team, and then I will provide my Mavericks vs. Clippers betting prediction.

Mavericks vs. Clippers Odds

Mavericks +7-110
Clippers -7-110
Mavericks To Win+250
Clippers To Win-300
Over 217 Points-110
Under 217 Points-110

The spread returns to the same total set the last time the Mavericks played in LA, and we all know how that played out. Although Dallas lost by margins of 10 and 25 in the previous two games, I feel the spread is slightly in their favor here, especially given their impressive record in LA.

The points total return to that of the total in game one, and I believed it to be low that day (incorrectly as it turns out by a single point), and I think it to be the same here again today. The Mavericks will have a point to prove and will want to come out of the gate fast, while the Clippers will have all the confidence in the world.

Mavericks Losing Momentum

The Mavericks have not only lost momentum in this series, but they have lost focus as well, which has been a significant problem for them throughout the season. This is highlighted by the fact they struggled against many lesser teams in the NBA as they appeared to look beyond them instead of what was in front of them. They should, however, be entirely focused tonight given another loss here, and they would be teetering on elimination.

They played terribly in games two and three, which is backed up by their field goal percentages of 44% and 34%. They also only made five three-pointers in their last game from 30 attempts. They need a reaction, and one is expected, given they haven’t lost three games in a row all season long.

Here are the latest betting trends for Dallas:

  • They have lost four of their last six games against the spread.
  • Seven of their previous nine matches have gone over the betting total.
  • Dallas is 14-6 in their last 20 games.
  • Only one of their previous eight road trips failed to go over the points total.
  • The Mavericks have won on four of their last five visits to LA against the spread.
  • Dallas is 7-13 against the spread in their previous 20 matches.
  • They have won four of their last five games played in June.

The essential data to pull from these trends is how many of the Mavericks games are going over the betting total at present.

Despite their miserable attempts from range in their last game, the Mavericks have performed well from three-point range, out-doing the team with the best record from distance in the regular season. However, the same cannot be said from the free-throw line, where they have the worst record in the playoffs.

They had also struggled to make offensive rebounds which came to light when their sharp shooting from games one and two deserted them. Their defensive rebounding hasn’t been any better, and they have the worst overall figures in the playoffs so far. This will surely need to improve if they want to regain the lead in this series. Especially as they have made a low number of steals in the playoffs so far. This has meant they have spent periods throughout each game without the ball.

Throughout winning and losing, they have maintained their approach of driving to the basket more often than not, an approach that has served them well this season. It will be interesting to see if this changes following their two defeats.

The Mavericks have also maintained their discipline, despite these losses. You feel they will indeed have to take a more aggressive approach tonight to show the Clippers they are up for the fight.

They also need to start blocking better as the two they are averaging per game in this series won’t cut it.

Much will depend on the fitness of Luka Doncic for the Mavs, as he has been the guy to carry them over the line more often than not this season. He is struggling with a neck injury, and it was evident in game four when he posted a series low of 19-points.

Although Doncic is struggling through injury, he is expected to play tonight. The same can be said about Kleber, who has been battling an Achilles problem lately. However, Reddick will miss the game with a heel injury.

Confidence in the Clippers

The Clippers have the momentum and the confidence heading into this one. Game four wasn’t only about leveling the series; they laid down a marker by holding the Mavericks to their lowest total of the season and thrashing them by 26-points.

Their defense, more than anything, will be critical once again tonight as they look to return to winning ways at the Staples Center, having lost their previous three games. In their last two victories over the Lakers and the Raptors, their defense stood tall and conceded low scores of 100 and 94.

Here are the latest betting trends for Los Angeles:

  • The Clippers have lost two-thirds of their previous 15 matches against the spread.
  • The total has gone under in 14 of their last 20 games.
  • LA has won two and lost four of their previous six matches.
  • Six of their last eight games against the Mavericks have gone under the betting total.
  • They have only won one of their previous six games at home against the spread.
  • LA is 3-7 in their last ten games against teams from the west coast.
  • The Clippers have only won two of their previous six games against teams based in the Southwest Division.
  • Only one of their last six matches played on a Wednesday failed to go under the points total.

Although the Clippers have won the last two in the series, this paints a slightly different picture of them and suggests that their form hasn’t been great overall. It also points towards a low-scoring game.

The Clippers are making every one in two shots from the field goal range in this series, and if that continues throughout the tie and the playoffs, they will be hard to stop.

They have also made a very low number of turnovers. Their turnover count is identical to that of Dallas, meaning possession could be the key to victory for both tonight.

As we know, their defense is always impressive, and it has been in fine form over the last two games.

Although his scores have dwindled over the past three games in the series, his performances have certainly not, and if Kawhi Leonard can continue to score at 62% as he has done in those games, then the Mavericks are going to struggle.

The Clippers only have one doubt this evening, and that is Ibaka, who has been suffering from a back problem recently.

Mavericks vs. Clippers Betting Pick

  • Mavericks +7

You can’t help but get excited about this one. I said before can’t one that this would be one of the ties of the first round, and it certainly hasn’t disappointed. These two met at this stage of the season last year with the series level, and the Clippers went on to win the next two and close out the matchup.

They have won their previous two game-five matchups in the first round of the playoffs and, therefore, will be confident of winning tonight. On the other hand, game five has not been kind to Dallas in the first round of the playoffs as they have lost the previous four in a row. I have to go back to my thoughts in game one and concur that these teams are closely matched despite the last two games; the series scoreline highlights that.

Therefore, I have to take the seven-point lead offered to the Mavericks and hope they can bounce back to form and continue their good run in LA.



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