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Clippers-Mavericks Preview: DeAndre Does Dallas (Again)

It's DeAndre Jordan's second trip to Dallas as Mavericks' Enemy No. 1. Can he dominate an aging team that just overtime in Denver last night?

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
2015-16 NBA Regular Season
Dallas Mavericks (33-30)

Los Angeles Clippers (40-21)
March 7, 2016 — 5:30 PM PDT
American Airlines Center — Dallas, TX
Fox Sports West, The Beast 980 AM, KWKW 1330 AM
Win-Loss Breakdown ('15-'16)
33-30 Record 40-21
12-12 East 19-7
21-18 West 21-14
5-8 Division 7-5
19-13 Home 21-11
14-17 Road 19-10
9-19 .500+ 15-14
24-11 .500– 25-7
7-4 OT 4-1
5-5 L10 6-4
Projected Starters
Deron Williams PG Chris Paul
Wesley Matthews SG J.J. Redick
Chandler Parsons SF Jeff Green
Dirk Nowitzki PF Paul Pierce
Zaza Pachulia C DeAndre Jordan
Efficiency Stats ('14-'15)
96.4 (24th) Pace 98.5 (13th)
104.6 (8th) OffRtg 106.1 (6th)
103.9 (17th) DefRtg 100.4 (7th)
0.8 (13th) NetRtg 5.7 (5th)
Injury Report

Blake Griffin (quad/hand) out

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (eyelid laceration) doubtful
'15'-16' Season Series (Clippers lead 1-0)
Clips Nation Recap
NBA Box Score
Los Angeles
Clippers 104, Mavericks 88
Box Score
Mavericks 118, Clippers 108
Box Score

Los Angeles

The Big Picture:

Is it over yet? Does anybody still care about last summer's DeAndre Jordan misadventures? Because there's plenty more to talk about. Like the fact that the Clippers have played just two good quarters in their last eight, but still managed a 1-1 record. For a team that now possesses a vaunted top-10 level offense and defense, the past two games sure have been topsy-turvy. Is Luc Richard Mbah a Moute that steadying an influence? He missed both the comeback against OKC and the nosedive against Atlanta. He's also likely to miss tonight's tilt. Is it Jeff Green's Jeff Greenyness? He also has played just two good quarters in that span, both coming against the Hawks Saturday. Or is it just that the Clippers hit a rough spell against two quality opponents? Their opponent tonight is no powerhouse, but no walkover either. And even if the DeAndre turnaround is no longer much of story here, I'm betting it still stings there. Overlook Rick Carlisle, Dirk Nowitzki, and an enraged Dallas crowd at your own peril. If the Clippers want the victory tonight, they'd better submit more than one good quarter.

The Antagonist:

Behold, the average NBA team! It's appropriate given all the talk surrounding Dallas' man in the middle that the Mavericks find themselves... in the middle. Their raw point differential is 0.0, and it doesn't take any rounding to get there. They enter tonight having scored 6,466 points and having allowed 6,466 points. They're 5-5 in their last 10 games, 9-11 in their last 20, and 24-26 in their last 50. It's a pleasant surprise that the team with the famously disappointing summer is currently sixth in the playoff standings, but that may say more about the weakened state of the Western Conference than it does the relative quality of Mark Cuban's roster. It also helps that they're 7-4 in a league-high 11 overtime games -- only one other team has even played 8 overtime games. Average is fine, and it's a bit better than casual fans expected them to be, but it's rarely enough against good teams. The Mavs are 9-19 against winning teams, and it will take a strong effort to avoid loss number 20.

The Subplots:

  • Comparison of Key Metrics. Playing off of ESPN Mavericks' writer Tim McMahon's tweet from yesterday, Dallas allowed Nuggets' forward Kenneth Faried to rampage for 20 rebounds, 11 offensively. Dallas is an (you guessed it) average defensive rebounding team. DeAndre Jordan has submitted two roughly average (for him) rebounding games against Dallas this season. Will he take greater advantage tonight?
  • Schedule. Wednesday night will provide Oklahoma City the welcome opportunity for redemption. They'll be stewing an extra night too -- they haven't played since yesterday afternoon, and have no game scheduled for tonight or tomorrow night.
  • Storm chasing. The Clippers are hot on the Thunder's collectively-named tail. They're two games back in the standings but just a single game behind in the more important loss column.
  • Mile-high effects. The Mavericks lost in overtime to the Nuggets yesterday, in Denver, wrapping up shortly before 5:00 PM PDT. So after 52 minutes of deleterious high-altitude basketball, the Mavericks will have roughly 24-and-a-half hours to recover for the Clippers.
  • Chandler can do more than recruit. There's a bright spot amidst all the Mavs' mediocrity -- Nowitzki aside, because he's a legend -- and it's the play of forward Chandler Parsons. Apparently fully recovered from last year's knee surgery, the 27-year-old is averaging roughly 17/5/3 and shooting better than 50% from the field and 45% from three. He gives them a versatile offensive option every night.
  • Jeff Greenyness. Since Jeff Green can't ever seem to put together multiple strong games in a row, perhaps it's a bad sign that he played relatively well on Saturday night. Hopefully, he's saving it for the Thunder. When he's on, you can squint and talk yourself into seeing James Worthy. When he's off, he's nearly worthless.
  • A new old face in Dallas. The Mavericks signed old Golden State foe David Lee off the scrap heap two weeks ago. He continues to fulfill the bench role he's assumed for the past two seasons, averaging just under 19 minutes per game.
  • For the Mavericks' point of view, head over to Mavs Moneyball.