The Clippers and Mavericks have somehow become one of the better rivalries in the Western Conference of the NBA. They don’t like each other, Luka Doncic and Marcus Morris seems to have a particular disdain for one another and both teams get up for this game whether it’s in January or in the middle of the postseason.
The last time these two tangled, the Clippers came away victorious despite Luka going bonkers (again) with 43 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists on Jan. 10. The Clippers have gone 3-3 over their last six games but had lost six straight before then, putting them at 3-9 over their last 12 games.
L.A. played that last victorious meeting without Paul George, but he’s expected to be in action today. Kawhi Leonard led the way with 33 points, nine rebounds, four assists, four steals, a block and three 3-pointers on 9-of-12 shooting in the last one, while Norman Powell came off the bench for 27 points. Terance Mann was coming in hot when Powell exploded that night and while he cooled off, Mann still had 12 points, five boards and a couple 3-pointers in the win. Ivica Zubac had just eight points and seven rebounds in 16 minutes, but was in early foul trouble and was never able to get into the flow of the game. And while the Mavericks don’t really have any challenging big men to speak of, Zubac also had just three points and seven rebounds with five fouls in their other meeting this season. Luke Kennard and John Wall are out tonight but the Clippers will be bringing a lot of firepower at Luka and company with George, Kawhi, Morris, Zubac, Mann and Powell all ready to go.
The Mavs will be missing a key piece of equipment today as Christian Wood will miss another one with a fractured thumb. Maxi Kleber is also out with his hamstring injury so the Mavs will turn to bigs like Davis Bertans, Dwight Powell and ancient JaVale McGee for help tonight.
In his two meetings with the Clippers this season, Luka is averaging 39 points, 11.0 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 2.5 steals and 2.5 3-pointers. Luka’s rebounds fell off for a couple games recently but he had 34 points and 12 boards on Friday against the Heat, a sign his ankle might be feeling better. He’s averaging 31.6 points, 9.8 rebounds, 8.3 assists, 0.8 steals and 2.3 3-pointers in his eight January games, making his lofty betting totals a steep mountain to climb.
The Mavericks had lost three of four games before beating the Heat on Friday. Spencer Dinwiddie stepped up with 19 points and three triples in that one, Reggie Bullock stayed relevant with 15 points and five 3-pointers, Josh Green had 12 points and a solid stat line, and Dorian Finney-Smith added 10 points and two triples. Tim Hardaway Jr. will be looking to bounce back after hitting just 1-of-10 shots for eight points in that one. In addition to his 34 points and 12 rebounds, Luka also had seven assists, a steal and five triples on Friday.
Top performing Oddscrowd bettor Reign80 likes the Mavericks Moneyline (-121), burdspencer likes the Mavs minus the points and the Oddscrowd algorithm gives the Mavs a 2% +EV Edge to the Moneyline, as well. While the Mavs are at home, it’s going to be tough for them to handle a healthy PG-13 and Leonard without Wood available and we’re not sure Luka can do it all by himself. We think the Clippers are going to have too much firepower today.
Pick: Clippers +1.5
Prop 1: Luka Doncic Over 2.5 3-pointers made
Prop 2: Kawhi Leonard Over 25.5 points
Prop 3: Paul George Over 21.5 points