LA Clippers: Potential matchups for new-look NBA playoffs

LA Clippers (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)
LA Clippers (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images) /
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Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

In a traditional, 16-team playoff format, the Clippers first-round opponent (should seeding be set based on the current standings) would be the Dallas Mavericks.

Dallas is currently the seventh seed in the Western Conference with a 40-27 record. If the NBA returns with playoffs-as-usual the Clippers would hold home court advantage in the matchup.

The Clippers have won both regular-season matchups against Mavericks this season with a 114-99 victory on November 26, and a 110-107 win on January 21.

Dallas is carried by stars Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis in their first season together as teammates. The Mavericks made a rapid turn-around fueled by the pair after finishing 14th in the Western Conference last year. After the duo, the Mavs next most productive offensive weapons are sharpshooters Tim Hardaway Jr. and Seth Curry.

The Mavericks do let it fly from deep. They are currently second in the league in three-pointers made (1026) and attempted (2779) also ranking in second in three-point rate taking 46.1 percent of their shots from beyond the arc. All those three-pointers have helped Dallas to a league-leading Offensive Rating of 116.1.

In both of their matchups this season, the Clippers defense was able to hold the Mavericks to three-point shooting numbers below their season average of 15.3 shots made at a rate of 36.9 percent. On November 26 the Mavs were held to 28.9 percent from beyond the arc (11-for-38) and on January 21 they shot 12-43 (27.9 percent) from deep. Dallas also scored at far lower rates of 95.5 and 109 points-per-hundred possessions than their league-best rating of 116.1.

Dallas kept things closer in their second match-up, which was played at a much slower pace of 98.1 possessions-per-48-minues than their first meeting which pushed things to a pace of 103.7.

The Clippers have a deeper roster and the ability to push things at a faster pace than Dallas would able to keep up with over the course of a full series. Their defense can also cause the Mavericks fits in a slowed-down half-court game and bother Dallas enough to drop their shooting efficiency well below normal.

It would be fun to see the Clippers matched up against a team featuring the young megastar Luka Doncic and his costar Kristaps Porzingis, but even with their star power we don’t think Dallas poses a real threat to upset Los Angeles in a potential first-round matchup.