Mavericks vs. Clippers Game 4 Updated Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions (Sunday, August 23)
Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Paul George.
Mavericks vs. Clippers Betting Odds
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|Mavericks Odds||+7.5 [BET NOW]|
|Clippers Odds||-7.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+260/-315 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||231.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||3:30 p.m. ET|
Well, just when it looked like we had our one great first-round series, 2020 reared its ugly head again. Clippers vs. Mavericks was shaping up to be a doozy, right up until Luka Doncic rolled that left ankle for the second time this series.
Doncic hurt his ankle only a few minutes into his playoff debut, but the Mavs rallied without him and he returned not long after with his ankle taped and put up 42 points, an NBA record for a debut. Luka looked like himself in Dallas’ Game 2 win, but got into foul trouble and only played 28 minutes.
Doncic became the third-youngest player ever to record a playoff triple-double in Game 3 but shot just 4-of-14 from the field and 4-of-10 from the line. Then he rolled that ankle again, and this one looked ugly. Doncic hopped all the way to the locker room for treatment without putting any weight on the left leg. He did return briefly, but could not play through the injury and again played under 30 minutes and finished with a -14 on/off in an easy Clippers win.
And so, here we are in the marquee Sunday afternoon national game on ABC and Wonder Boy is listed as questionable. The line has already swung several points in LA’s favor. The Clippers can take a stranglehold on the series with a win. Does Luka have the magic in him?
Our Dallas analysis starts and ends with Doncic. As of Saturday, Doncic is expected to be a game-time decision, with his status unknown until minutes before tipoff.
Translation: Doncic will test the ankle before the game and see how it feels. You know he’ll want to play, but we’ll see if the team doctors are willing to risk it. Sprained ankles tend to be more about pain management than long-term risk, but this is a 21-year-old with all the future in the world ahead of him. You have to think Dallas will be cautious here.
Even if Doncic does get the start, don’t just assume a green light. He could easily play a few minutes and bow out early if the ankle isn’t responding, or he could be more of a decoy or struggle through injury. And it’s not like the Clippers don’t have a couple of elite all-world wing defenders to throw at him in his hobbled state. It will be rough sledding.
The rest of the Dallas analysis goes from there. It doesn’t matter much that the Mavericks had the No. 1 offense in the league if Doncic isn’t playing, or if he’s not healthy. The Mavs need Luka out there. They did go 7-7 without Doncic this year, but that was the regular season. Dallas has two stars and a bunch of role players. The Clippers should cruise if Doncic isn’t out there.
Los Angeles Clippers
LA should consider itself very lucky at this point. They’ve yet to see a full-game effort from Luka Doncic through three games, and they also got that Game 1 Kristaps Porzingis ejection. Clippers coach Doc Rivers said before Game 3 that he thought Dallas was playing better, and he was right. The Mavs could easily have been up 2-0.
Kawhi Leonard has been his usual Finals MVP self, but Paul George has been absolutely miserable thus far. He’s shooting under 31% from the field with a sub-10 PER and a -3.3 Box Plus-Minus. The Clippers are supposed to be built around two superstars and a deep, versatile roster, but the players around Kawhi haven’t held up their end of the bargain yet. Montrezl Harrell is still working back into shape, Reggie Jackson and Landry Shamet have struggled, and Patrick Beverley is listed as questionable again and looks unlikely to play.
The Clippers are supposed to be title contenders, but this version of the team isn’t going to get the job done. They’ll need to be much better on defense going forward, and they need to get the rest of the non-Kawhi rotation going.
Betting Analysis & Pick
It’s tough to make a call on this one without knowing more about Doncic, but that’s likely the spot you’re in too as you read this. The line is already slanted toward the Clippers at -8.5, and you can expect it to rise sharply the moment Doncic is ruled out. If Luka does play, I would expect that to move back a point or two toward Dallas.
It’s a tough spot, but I’m getting my money in on the Clippers early. This is a mismatch if Doncic doesn’t play, and even if he does try to give it a go, I’m not convinced he’ll be anywhere near 100%. Doncic unlocks everything for this offense, and if he’s even a quarter-step slow, I’m not sure it will be good enough.
It’s so easy to see this game getting out of hand in LA’s direction. Maybe Doncic doesn’t play, maybe he tries but it’s not happening for him. If Luka looks uncomfortable, or if the game gets away early, I expect Dallas to be very careful.
Even if Doncic does gut it out, I think the Clippers take care of business and pull away late against a team that hasn’t measured up in crunch time. I’m feeling pretty good about laying the -8.5 and will try to grab this one before it hits double digits. Even if Luka plays, I don’t think I’m getting much better than -7.
Maybe the kid has some magic in him. My heart would love to see it. But I’m betting with my wallet.
Pick: Clippers -8.5