Entering the night, in the entire NBA, the Clippers were tied for 10th in Offensive Rating (with the Boston Celtics), and ranked 8th in Pace, 8th in True Shooting Percentage (57.3%), 4th in 3 Point Field Goal Percentage (38.7%), and 1st in both Free Throws Attempted per game (28.5) and Free Throws Made per game (22.7). These were encouraging figures against a Dallas team that would be playing its second night of back-to-back games. Playing downhill and playing with pace is what the Clippers do, and it is precisely this style of play that affords them so many trips to the free throw line and opens up efficient shooting opportunities. Despite the return of Dennis Smith Jr. to the Mavericks lineup after a multiple game absence, the Clippers were fortunate enough to get Lou Williams back in the fold after missing multiple games due to a hamstring injury.
In a game that featured 19 lead changes and 14 ties, the Clippers could not pull away, largely thanks to a very forgettable 3rd quarter performance. Despite holding the Mavericks to 29.4% shooting from beyond the arc in the game and allowing just 16 made field goals in the second half, the Clippers were their own worst enemy in this one. They finished the game shooting just 36.3% from the field, 27.8% from beyond the arc, and only 75.9% at the free throw line.
- The Clippers had 15 consecutive missed field goals to close out the 3rd quarter, a span that stretched just beyond 7 minutes. They made just 4 in the quarter, earning the remainder of their 17 total 3rd quarter points at the free throw line. Still, they held the Mavericks to just 20 3rd quarter points, entering the 4th quarter with a mere 5-point deficit.
- Rebounding was a problem in the previous two matchups between these teams, and it was certainly an issue tonight. The Mavericks out-rebounded the Clippers 48-41 on the night, largely thanks to former Clipper DeAndre Jordan’s 16 boards (though well-short of his 23 and 22-rebound performances in their prior meetings this season).
- Patrick Beverley and Avery Bradley (!) were the lone bright spots for the Clippers tonight, combining for 31 points, 14 rebounds, and 6 assists while playing stellar end-to-end defense. Bradley did an excellent job of containing Luka Doncic with and without the ball, staying in front of him and pressuring him all times he covered him; Doncic finished the night with a very respectable 17 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists, but shot just 5-of-15 from the field and 0-of-8 from beyond the arc.
- Tobias Harris, coming off one of his best all-around performances in San Antonio on Sunday night, shot just 1-of-9 from the field, 1-of-6 from beyond the arc, and finished the night with just 9 points. It was a very rare single-digit scoring performance for the team’s leading scorer, so expect him to bounce back from this one.
The Miami Heat host the LA Clippers at American Airlines Arena tomorrow at 4:30pm PST.
Be sure to check out the Mavericks perspective over at Mavs Moneyball.