Dallas Mavericks: Friday is Here and With It, Game 3.

I've scoured the internet for bites or morsels of pro Mavs content in the wake of the Dallas Mavericks going up 2-0 on the L.A. Clippers, defeating them twice on their home court. While the results speak for themselves, the general narrative outside of my personal favorite Mavs Moneyball, has been that the Clippers are fumbling their efforts and letting this series slip away from them.

Very few outlets are discussing the Dallas Mavericks and their hot start as the foundational reason for the Clippers short comings. Perhaps this is because the Clippers have been flailing since their 3-1 meltdown in the bubble. If you include the failure in last years bubble alongside the first two losses, the Clippers have lost 5 straight playoff games. While Kawhi and PG put up a combined 69 points, 18 boards, and 10 assists, it still wasn't enough to overcome the terrific shooting of the Mavericks squad.

Tim Hardaway Jr. shot 75% from 3 point range on Tuesday, making 6 of his 8 attempts. He made a key 3 point bucket in the end of the 4th to essentially ice the game and has been a major factor as far as why this series has swung in Dallas' favor. His efficiency on the 2nd most shot attempts on the Mavs side has been outstanding and will surely earn him interest from around the league come free agency this summer. Timmy's ability to match the moment and his maturity since first joining the Mavericks roster has been ever increasing as he has become a well established, critical cog in the Dallas Maverick Machine.

Not to be outdone in efficency, Kristaps Porzigis also contributed key buckets for the team while shooting 3 of 4 from the 3 point range. Our team's ability to knock down a consistent 3 is crucial to victory. But in this one off anecedotal case, our ability to knock down free throws was not. Mavericks made 13 of 24 free throws, good for a paltry 54% from the line. Additionally, Dallas had 11 turnovers, 7 from Luka alone. With the usage rate of Luka on this Mavericks offense at the top of the rest of the NBA, it is to be expected that he might have bad turnovers at times, especially when facing one of the supposed best defenses in the league. However, at times I think Luka has bad turnovers simply because he is a showboating performer at heart.

I've determined after 3 seasons of watching Luka, that he now has two states of impactful operation when on the court. Either Luka has a blast on the court, torching defenses and racking up assists while he smiles at you and laughs to the bank, or he gets angry. Both emotional states are devastating to a defensive unit such as the Clippers as try as they might, the Dallas Mavericks just keep coming.

Luka had 39 points on 5 for 13 from the 3 point line, along with 7 boards, 7 assists, a steal and a block. I think part of the reason that the Clippers have been behaving so nonchalant about being down 0-2 in the series, is they largely have been able to control Luka and restrict him in the 4th of these games. Granted, I use the word control loosely as he still finds a way to conduct the offense and enable his teammates to get the best looks available in a singular trip down the court. m.

He missed a handful of midrange and 3 point shots while scoring 2 layups and turning the ball over twice in the 4th quarter of game 2. His impact is still felt however as he draws so much defensive attention that it frees up his teammates to get high quality looks on which they have delivered. Josh Richardson has taken a step back as he has settled into an off the bench role, but his largest contributions have been at the end of games as the Mavs ensure that the ball is in his hands while the Clippers foul to stop the clock. He made the final 4 points in the game for the Mavericks as he drew back to back fouls in the closing seconds of the game. Whether or not the Josh Richardson for Seth Curry trade stands up in the grand scheme, at least Richardson is helping our team in crucial moments to ice the game and secure a win.

Coming into today's game, the Mavs have many advantages. They are shooting lights out. They have Rick Carlisle who thus far has coached circles around Ty Lue. They have a nearly full stadium of playoff starved people who are now feeling the same momentum and possiblity in their bones that we once felt in 2011. The crowd that will be blasting the Clippers with noise and making it challenging for them to execute. And they have Luka FUCKING Doncic. What more could you ask for when facing off against Playoff P and a version of Kawhi that is looking suprisingly mortal. On top of that, they have many mistakes from the previous two games that, if corrected, could stand to increase the probability of them securing a win tonight. The Clippers have quietly devolved into the "Paper Clips" as Brian Windhorst so aptly referenced from a now all but forgotten older time in basketball when the NBA Organization were dealing with a rhyming set of woes and existentialism.

The Dallas Mavericks have never been able to stop the Clippers from scoring. But they may not have to. I hope to see some big KP cuts tonight as he continues to play within his role and do just enough. If he continues to hit his 3's as well as succeed on the above the rim lob action then it will be yet another area where the Mavericks can open up the throttle on offense and apply pressure on the Clippers to keep up. I expect to see Luka snag a playoff triple double as he does anything and everything it takes to lock down this win. I won't even let the possiblity of a loss enter my mind as I see a lightning in the eyes of these Maverick players and an unrelenting energy that the Clippers can't hope to fight off. 3-0 would be devastating to the Clippers beyond what a mere 2-0 loss on your homecourt must feel like. Not to mention the further context of this being in the first round of the playoffs, while your L.A. counterpart you sought to duck in the playoff brackets, is thriving and pushing down the gas on a 2-1 lead over a less than bright, battered and bruised Suns team.

Yikes. I don't think any heads will necessarily roll if Clippers lose 4-0, but I can't imagine Steve is going to be especially pleased either.

I'm an eternally optimisic human being so I'm going to declare Mavs in 4. Previously I tweeted out Mavs in 5 but I was not prepared for the possibility that we would storm into L.A. and take two games from the start! Seeing the manner in which Luka has torn the Paper Clips to shreds, I expect him to play with such a fierce confidence that nothing will derail him from his goal. This Mavericks team is legit, and a much more refined and playoff ready team then that of Lebron's early dance in the Finals in 2007 against the Spurs. Step one is putting this series in the books and winning the next 2 played at home. Lets go Mavs!

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