The rampaging Los Angeles Clippers are out for another win this Thursday as they visit Luka Doncic and the banged-up Dallas Mavericks for the third meeting of these teams this season.
Catch this game live on Thursday, December 21, 2023 at 9:30 AM, Manila time
Away: Los Angeles Clippers (16-10/5-7 Away)
Projected Starting Five:
- James Harden
- Terance Mann
- Paul George
- Kawhi Leonard
- Ivica Zubac
The tough phase of finding the right blend in incorporating James Harden into the equation seems to be so over for the Clippers. After losing in the first five appearances of Harden in Clippers threads, Los Angeles has gone 13-3 straight up with him active. The former NBA MVP is also fresh off his best game yet for the Clippers, dropping 35 points on 12/16 shooting with eight 3-pointers in a 151-127 Tuesday win on the road over the Indiana Pacers.
The Clippers are now on an eight-game win streak, and over that stretch, they have posted a league-best 126.6 offensive rating. Their boom on that side of the floor isn’t coming at the expense of their defense either. In fact, the Clippers are 10th in the NBA with a 113.8 defensive rating in that same span. That doesn’t sound too encouraging for Dallas, which lost in the most recent meeting of these teams. The Clippers beat Dallas, 107-88, at home on Nov. 26 when they also limited the Mavs to only 37.4 FG%.
Home: Dallas Mavericks (16-10/7-5 Home)
Projected Starting Five:
- Luka Doncic
- Dante Exum
- Derrick Jones Jr.
- Grant Williams
- Dereck Lively II (Questionable)
With injuries to key players bugging them, the Mavs have seen their play regress of late. They have lost two of their last three games, including Tuesday’s 130-104 wallopping at the hands of the reigning NBA champions Denver Nuggets on the road. Back at home after two games away from Dallas, the Mavs will look to trip up the red-hot Clippers, and so long as they have Luka Doncic, anything is possible. Doncic is carrying even more burden on offense with Kyrie Irving sidelined with injury.
When the Mavs defeated the Clippers at home on Nov. 11, Doncic went off for 44 points. On the season, Doncic is averaging 32.9 points per game on 49 FG%, 8.4 rebounds, and 9.1 assists per contest. Of course, he can’t do it all on his own, so the Mavs will have to ask more from the others, especially after Doncic scored 38 points and no other Dallas player had more than 11 in the Denver game. Dereck Lively II can provide a boost, particularly on defense, if he makes it back to active duty after missing the meeting with the Nuggets with an ankle injury that doesn’t seem to be very serious.
Spread: The Mavs (+3.0) cover the spread.
Over/Under: The total (238.5)) hits the Over.