Clippers vs. Mavericks Odds, Game 4 Preview, Prediction: Should Bettors Back LA to Even Series? (Sunday, May 30)
Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Paul George.
- Game 4 of Clippers vs. Mavericks gets under way on Sunday night with Los Angeles looking to tie things up before returning to Staples Center.
- Both teams have been red hot on offense, particularly Dallas from behind the arc, but at some point you'd expect the Clippers defense to make an appearance.
- Kenny Ducey explains below why he's expecting an offensive regression from Dallas, as LA ties the series.
Clippers vs. Mavericks Game 4 Odds
|Moneyline||-150 / +125|
|Time||9:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Saturday and via BetMGM.|
After falling behind 2-0 in their opening-round series against the Mavericks, many had their doubts about the Clippers heading to Dallas. They quieted the critics with a convincing Game 3 win and are out to level the series in Game 4.
Is there any value left in backing the Clippers as they fight back in this series, or is it time to go back to believing in the Mavericks? Let’s take a look at the numbers and make a decision.
Clippers Offense Will Lead the Way
Through their three games, only one team in the postseason has posted a better offensive rating than the Clippers, and that would be the Dallas Mavericks. LA has scored 127.5 points per 100 possessions, meaning that the defensive side of the ball is where the issues lie for the Clips.
With that being said, you’d think that the loss of Serge Ibaka to a back injury and the benching of Patrick Beverley would hurt the Clippers, but it only stood to help them in Game 3. With Reggie Jackson at the point, and Nic Batum seeing more minutes on the wing, Los Angeles picked up a massive 118-108 win on Friday to get back in this series.
The Clippers have managed to improve their field goal percentage in each game, and it may just be the offense that carries them forward, not their defense which ranked eighth this season. The Clippers will presumably go with Jackson and Rajon Rondo at the point in this one, and Batum could be in line for a bunch of minutes once again with Ibaka listed as questionable here. That should drive the offense forward once again.
It’s also worth talking about the performances that Kawhi Leonard and Paul George have turned in during this series. Leonard has done it all for LA, averaging 34.3 points on 61.4% shooting and 44.6% from three, adding 8.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists.
You’d expect Kawhi to show up to this series, even with pretty unassuming counting stats during the season, but what you probably didn’t expect was the return of Playoff P. George has rebounded from a tough Game 1 to score at least 28 points in back-to-back games, and his pleasantly surprising turnaround has come in spite of his 24.2% shooting from three. The Clippers have scored the basketball at an efficient rate, but it could be even better if George’s threes begin to fall.
Mavericks Three-Point Shooting is Unsustainable
The Mavericks are on the brink of seeing their control over this series slip right through their hands, but it’s hardly a surprise given how they’ve played in this series. No team has taken fewer shots inside 10 feet than Dallas, who have conversely taken a gaudy 36.3 threes per game. This team’s refused to take high-percentage shots, instead launching threes and living on a 50.5% three-point field goal percentage.
It can’t be understated how unsustainable this is for Dallas, who ranked 18th in three-point percentage this season. 18th! And this team is shooting over 50% from three. Take nothing away from the shooting ability of Luka Doncic, Tim Hardaway, Kristaps Porzingis and this collection of great depth pieces, but this can’t go on. Not against the eighth-best defense in the NBA, anyway, and one that allowed the sixth-lowest three-point percentage this season at 35.5%.
Dallas has lacked much of a punch on the defensive end, as highlighted by the above section on how great the Clippers offense has looked. This game is going to come down to whether or not the Mavericks can simply out-score the Clippers in another shootout, on the backs of their shooting. It seems highly unlikely they shoot over 50% once more, but then again I said the same thing prior to Game 3, when they hit 51.3% of their looks from downtown. Sometime or another, these shots will cease falling and the Mavericks will get blown out.
Despite that great shooting performance on Friday, the Mavericks still were cooked by a strong Clippers interior defense. Dallas actually took more shots than it has all postseason long despite a very low pace rating of 86.5. This tells me that the thought of a Mavericks team that can’t hit threes is downright scary with the way Los Angeles is locking up on the high-percentage looks.
I’m going to once again bet on regression here as it pertains to the Mavericks’ shooting. This Clippers team is making Dallas take tough shots, and they are bound to stop falling here. Even the slightest hiccup by Dallas could be catastrophic here considering how poor its defense has been and the growth that the Clippers can still show. Three points is a very reasonable number to lay, and I’d be comfortable betting this all the way to -4.5. Los Angeles will head back home with a chance to move the Mavs one game away from elimination.
Pick: Clippers -3 (-110)