The LA Clippers and the Dallas Mavericks have had wildly different starts to the NBA season 2020-21. While the latter franchise has lost both of their starting fixtures, the former has won its opening two games with authority.
This early in the season, however, the record couldn't matter any less. Both sets of players are hungry and have something to prove. A close game is undoubtedly on the cards for this one.
Fixture: Dallas Mavericks vs LA Clippers - NBA Season 2020-21
Date & Time: Sunday, December 27th, 2020–3:30 PM ET (Monday, December 28th, 2020–2:00 AM IST)
Venue: Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
The Dallas Mavericks and LA Clippers are very familiar with each other by now. Their series in the 2020 NBA Playoffs was arguably the best in the first round of the postseason.
Given how incredible that series was, fans will be expecting an emphatic matchup between the two franchises.
Dallas Mavericks Preview
The Dallas Mavericks may have lost both their fixtures up to this point. But what needs to be noted is their losses came against teams that rank amongst the best in a stacked Western Conference.
Despite their current form, the franchise has players that can turn it around just as easily, even up against the best in the NBA. Of these players, Tim Hardaway Jr., Maxi Kleber, and Trey Burke have especially played well and will likely be pivotal in the clash against the LA Clippers.
In terms of injuries, Kristaps Porzingis (knee) continues to be on the sidelines and is not expected to feature in this game.
Key Player - Luka Doncic
Even without Kristaps Porzingis, many expected Luka Doncic to be the strongest candidate for MVP to start the season. While that may have been a bit too much to ask, the 21-year-old has still performed very impressively in the two games played by the Dallas Mavericks this season.
Given his offensive repertoire, Luka Doncic can take his performance to the next level at any given moment and will undoubtedly be the player the LA Clippers will be most wary of during this matchup.
Dallas Mavericks Predicted Lineup
G Luka Doncic, G Dorian Finney-Smith, F Tim Hardaway Jr., F Maxi Kleber, C Dwight Powell
LA Clippers Preview
As previously mentioned, the LA Clippers have started the season incredibly well. On opening day, the franchise were a class above reigning champions LA Lakers, and in the next game, they beat the Denver Nuggets. The team has looked incredible so far, and there is enough reason to believe they can keep going.
In terms of injuries, the LA Clippers have a major worry ahead of the game against the Dallas Mavericks. After suffering what was a gruesome injury in the game against the Denver Nuggets, Kawhi Leonard's availability ahead of this clash is a serious doubt. This absence, along with that of Marcus Morris, could seriously hold the LA Clippers back against the Dallas Mavericks.
Key Player - Paul George
After what was a very disappointing 2020 NBA Playoffs, Paul George seems to have finally turned it around. The 30-year-old was arguably the best player on the floor for the LA Clippers during both their fixtures thus far and just looks better with every minute that he plays.
Given the form that he is in, Paul George can cause some serious havoc for the LA Clippers in this game. He will be the player that the Dallas Mavericks will keep an eye on the most during this upcoming game.
LA Clippers Predicted Lineup
G Patrick Beverley, G Paul George, F Maurice Harkless, F Serge Ibaka, C Ivica Zubac
Dallas Mavericks vs LA Clippers Match Prediction
Given the players that both franchises have, this could be a very close matchup between the Dallas Mavericks and LA Clippers. The latter franchise will most likely rely almost completely on Paul George to generate their offense during the matchup, while the former franchise play a system centered around Luka Doncic.
With the two-star players essentially going at each other head to head with a similar level of support, Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks will be the likelier franchise to steal the win away from the LA Clippers.
Where to watch Dallas Mavericks vs LA Clippers?
In the USA, the game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN.
International fans can stream this game live on NBA League Pass.
Published 26 Dec 2020, 20:18 IST