It's looking increasingly likely that the LA Clippers will get one of their most important players back for Game 6 of their first-round series with the Dallas Mavericks.
Patrick Beverley, who hasn't played in this series since Game 1, officially had his status upgraded from "doubtful" to "questionable" on Saturday afternoon — signaling that he could make his long-awaited return on Sunday.
LA has gone 2-2 in his absence this series, finding the most success starting Landry Shamet in his place. The young sharpshooter is averaging 12.3 points, 3.3 rebounds and 0.7 assists per game while connecting on 52.0% of his looks from the field and 50.0% from three-point range.
The Clippers have certainly benefitted from his production on the offensive end, but hardly any other player is able to replicate what Beverley does for the team on defense.
Not only can he defend multiple positions and hound just about any ball-handler, but Beverley serves as the team's main communicator on the defensive end of the floor, calling out switches and directing matchups.
LA's defense has been sub-par without him in the rotation, so getting Beverley back would be a huge add — especially if the Clippers can progress to the second round of the playoffs.
As essential as Beverley is to this team, LA is proving that it doesn't need him to succeed against Dallas. However, as the Clippers get deeper into the postseason, he'll become more and more vital to the team's success.
If Beverley is able to go tomorrow, don't expect him to get the start right away. LA will want to be cautious with his health and closely monitor his minutes, so it might make more sense for him to come off the bench. That said, if this series ends up going to a Game 7, Beverley will probably be out there for the tip-off.
The LA Clippers and Dallas Mavericks will take the floor for Game 6 on Sunday, Aug. 30 at 3:30 p.m. ET. The game will air on ESPN and Fox Sports Prime Ticket.