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Clippers vs. Mavericks Preview and game thread: Live by the three, die by the three

The Clippers come back to town after a fruitless road trip.

LA Clippers v Dallas Mavericks Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images

The Clippers are flying back into L.A. having lost two back-to-back games. And the last time the Clippers had a losing streak was almost a month ago, on Oct. 30. They will look to start afresh on their home court, where they are 7-3 this season.

Game Information

When: Sunday, November 21 at 12:30 p.m. PT

Where: STAPLES Center

How to watch/listen: Bally Sports SoCal, AM 570 ESPN

Opposing perspective: Mavs Moneyball

Projected Starting Lineups

Clippers: Eric Bledsoe, Reggie Jackson, Paul George, Nicolas Batum, Ivica Zubac

Mavericks: Jalen Brunson, Tim Hardaway Jr., Dorian Finney-Smith, Kristaps Porzingis, Dwight Powell

That doesn’t necessarily mean that the only key to Clippers success will be where they play. It will ultimately have to do more with how they play — or how they shoot, I should say. When the Clippers shoot well from beyond the arc, they are hard to beat. Hence, in the nine games the Clippers have won, they have shot 37.7 percent from long distance. And in the games they lost, just 32 percent.

The three-point shot, when it’s falling, opens the floor for the team’s natural slashers, nimble guards, and athletic bigs. Paul George has quite often sized up against smaller guards and gotten easier looks — a lot of his shots come from less than five feet away from the rim, of which he makes 60.6 percent. Don’t forget Nicolas Batum and Terance Mann, either. With their quick cuts and off-the-ball movement, they can be seen breaking down the opposing team’s defenses and propelling the Clippers forward. The cherry on top — we all love to see Ivica Zubac and Isaiah Hartenstein fiercely throwing it down when given enough space.

So, the Clippers will look to their “sharp-shooters” to find the bottom of the net. They may have a slight problem, though: their leading scorers have been struggling to live up to their reputation for their exceptional three-point shooting.

George and Reggie Jackson are shooting an underwhelming 34.7 percent and 33.6 percent from three, respectively. And in their latest loss against the Pelicans, they capitalized on only three of their 17 three-point attempts (that’s 17.6 percent, for the stat geeks out there). The other shooters, however, have had more success from downtown: Luke Kennard and Batum are both shooting 44 percent from three for the season.

Whether the Clippers have a good shooting night by improving the shot-selection or ball movement, or simply by answering the prayers of fans, the team will need to shoot better. And the Mavericks might be just the opponents they are looking for: their opponents have shot 41.8 percent from 20-24 feet away (fourth-worst in the league). Not to mention, a shorter Jalen Brunson and lengthier defensive liabilities like Kristaps Porzingis might work in the Clippers’ favor. What’s more, the Mavericks will play without their superstar, Luka Dončić (out with left ankle and knee sprains).

The Clippers will attempt to shoot their way to the win column in a two-game series against the Mavericks. Shooters gonna shoot, right?