It’s not a Game 7, but it kind of is. For the Clippers, tonight is either win.... or go home.
When: Friday, June 4 at 6:00 p.m. PT
Where: American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX
How to watch/listen: Bally Sports SoCal
Opposing perspective: Mavs Moneyball
Projected Starting Lineups
Clippers: Reggie Jackson, Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, Marcus Morris Sr., Ivica Zubac
Mavericks: Luka Doncic, Josh Richardson, Kristaps Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr., Maxi Kleber
Clippers: Serge Ibaka (lower back) — OUT
Mavericks: JJ Redick (heel) — OUT
Well, I didn’t think the Clippers would be facing elimination in the first round, but here we are. After trailing 0-2 in the series, the Clippers impressively won back-to-back games in Dallas. They got to return home with home court advantage again.... but blew it. They fell to the Mavericks on Wednesday night, in a game I truly would like to forget.
You already know. They had a golden chance to win that game, but they didn’t. Nothing we can do aside from look ahead to tonight’s contest.
In order for the Clippers to advance, they need to win two games in a row. That’s nothing for them. The Clips won back-to-back games a number of times this season. It’s definitely possible. Can they win in Dallas? Well, we just saw them win two in a row there. The only difference now is that the Clippers have to be perfect. They don’t have any games to spare. One loss and their season is done.
I’ll say this. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George each need to have incredible games tonight. At least one needs to score 30, and likely both to get this victory. Both players combined for 43 points last game, which can’t happen. The crazy part? They very well could have won with that production. Tonight though, both players need to show why they are superstars and put this team on their back.
Leonard was awful last game. No other way around it. He shot 1-for-7 from deep and had five costly turnovers. That simply can’t happen. They got solid productions from their other starts, as Reggie Jackson, Marcus Morris Sr. and Nicolas Batum combined for 46. You’ll live with that. If anything, the Clippers will need that again.
For the most part, LA held Dallas in check from deep. Each team made 14 three’s and shot 41 percent. I’d prefer a number not as high, but you’ll live with it compared to what they’ve shot all series.
Luka Doncic, well... good luck. He’s amazing. I have no other words to describe just how talented he is. He scored 42 last game and had 14 assists to go along with it. He was responsible for nearly all of Dallas’ points almost. The Clippers will have to do whatever they can to limit his production. Whatever it takes.
There is a lot on the line for the Clippers tonight. With a loss, who knows what happens this offseason. All they have to do is take one game at a time. Just win one. Just win tonight.