Are you feeling excited, nervous, nauseous over the start of Clippers playoff basketball? You’re in the right spot.
When: Saturday, May 22 at 1:30 p.m. PT
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
How to watch/listen: ESPN, Bally Sports SoCal
Opposing perspective: Mavs Moneyball
Projected Starting Lineups
Clippers: Patrick Beverley, Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, Marcus Morris Sr., Ivica Zubac
Mavericks: Luka Doncic, Josh Richardson, Kristaps Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr., Maxi Kleber
Mavericks: JJ Redick (heel) — OUT
Yes, this is a rematch of the first-round series in the bubble last year, which ended up being a much bigger battle than I think LA expected heading in. But a combination of not having their heads quite right and Luka Doncic having a stellar series in most of the games meant that while the Clippers prevailed last time out, the red flags thrown up in the series ended up being foreshadowing for their collapse in the very next series.
But enough about last season. This season, the Clippers have a new coach, a largely remade bench and seem to have worked on building their chemistry during a compressed regular season. We’ll only know definitively now, in the playoffs, but with another season under their belts, there’s hope that this could be their year.
But first, the Mavs. They are a skilled and scrappy bunch, pretty much what you’d expect of a Rick Carlisle team, and they likely aren’t going to be easy. Between the smooth play of Doncic, Kristaps Porzingis’ ability to find a rhythm, Tim Hardaway Jr’s penchant for being the man left open and a stronger bench, this is not an easy first-round series for the Clippers, and if they aren’t playing their best it could go wrong very quickly.
On the bright side, there are no injuries coming into the series for the Clips, and if the players can stay healthy, then LA’s chances are substantially better. The regular season has been a dress rehearsal for this, and now we get to see what this Clippers team can do. Can they get going with a Game 1 win? Here’s hoping they start off on the right foot.