MAVERCKS (2-2) AT LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS (2-2)
Time: 9 p.m.
Place: STAPLES Center, Los Angeles
TV: BSSW; TNT
Radio: ESPN 103.3 FM; Univision 1270 AM (Spanish)
About the Mavericks: The health of point guard Luka Doncic is of major concern to the Mavs as they try to seize control of this series after being up at one point in this best-of-seven series, 2-0. The third-year point guard was seriously affected by a cervical strain in Game 4 that limited his movements as he collected just 19 points, six rebounds and six assists. Coach Rick Carlisle said he expects Doncic to play in Game 5. “He seems to be doing better, so that’s good news,” Carlisle said. “I’m not sure how much better, but he’s definitely better. He’s done a little better and a little better each day, so these two days (between Games 4 and 5) I think has helped. But again I don’t know if he’s 80 percent, if he’s 85 (percent), if he’s 75 (percent).” . .Also for the Mavs in Game 4, Kristaps Porzingis tallied 18 points and hauled in five boards. . .The Mavs know they have to shoot the ball much, much better than they did in Game 4 when they were just 34.8 percent from the field and only made 5-of-30 buckets from 3-point range (16.7 percent). The Clippers also enjoyed a 53-41 rebounding edge over the Mavs in Game 4. . .Backup center Boban Marjanovic gave the Mavs a huge lift off the bench in Game 4 when he scored 12 points and grabbed six rebounds in only 15 minutes. Marjanovic finished that game with a plus/minus of +3. He was the only member of the Mavs with a positive plus/minus in Game 4. . .The Mavs had issues with the Clippers’ small lineup the past two games. “Our offense needs to be more mindful of being in the correct positions when the shot goes up,” Carlisle said. “That’s one thing. We just got to sit down and guard better. It’s a big challenge. Their two star players (Kawhi Leonard and Paul George) are really attacking, and their support guys are very, very good. It’s been a very difficult two games defensively and we’ve got to be better.”
About the Clippers: The Clippers are riding sky high and their followers staunchly believe they already have this series in the bag after losing the first two games at home, then climbing out of that hole to tie the series by winning two games in Dallas. But all of that optimism, obviously, is a bit premature. “All of that external noise is just that,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “This time of year I try not to look too much at the papers and the Internet. You can get distracted. The playoffs are difficult. A seven-game series is a seven -game series. I’ve been through so many wild playoff series that had all kinds of ups and downs and wacky stuff with road teams winning and teams struggling at home. You got to treat every day as a one-game day. The second couple of games they’ve been the aggressors and we’ve got to change that.”. .The Clippers’ one-two tandem of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George have been very difficult for the Mavs to contain. That dynamic duo combined for 49 points and 19 rebounds in the Clippers’ 106-81 Game 4 victory. Leonard finished with 29 points and 10 rebounds, and George collected 20 points and nine boards. The Clippers also got 15 points and five rebounds from Reggie Jackson in Game 4, and 10 points and five boards from Nicolas Batum. . .In the Clippers’ 118-108 victory in Dallas in Game 3 last Friday, Leonard led the way with 36 points and eight rebounds, and George tacked on 29 points and seven boards. . .On containing the Clippers’ 3-point shooting, Carlisle said: “We’ve got to get back quicker, we’ve got to take away the wide gaps. Look, they’ve got a great 3-point shooting team. They’ve got the best 3-point shooting team in the league, so how much you narrow the gaps is difficult, because they can kick it out. They’ve got (3-poimt) snipers out there ready to lock and load.”