Already halfway through their pre-season schedule, the LA Clippers are heading to Dallas on Friday night to take on the Mavericks. Through two pre-season games, the Clippers have gone 1-1, beating the Nuggets in their opener before falling to the Kings on Wednesday.
The Clippers have just four pre-season matchups, with Friday's game being the only one on the road. This matchup is undoubtedly against a worthy opponent, as Dallas Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic already looks to be in mid-season form. In his first pre-season appearance on Wednesday evening, Luka poured in 19 points on 8/10 shooting in just 15 minutes of action.
The Clippers are of course very familiar with Doncic, having faced him in the playoffs each of the last two years. While the Clippers ultimately prevailed and eliminated the Mavericks in both 2020 and 2021, it was not without a scare from Luka both times. Whether it is the pre-season, regular season, or postseason, Doncic seems to have his way against the Clippers. This is much less of an indictment on the Clippers than it is a testament to Luka's greatness, considering there is not a team in the league who has an answer for him.
For Friday evening's matchup, Doncic should be expected to play extended minutes in the first half before taking a seat for the rest of the night. Ahead of the Mavericks' pre-season date with the Clippers, new head coach Jason Kidd told the media that Luka Doncic, Kristaps Porzingis, and Tim Hardaway Jr. have already been slotted to only play in the first half. Along with the minutes restriction for those three, Kidd announced that Maxi Kleber and Reggie Bullock will be out for rest.
While the Mavericks will be without several of their key rotation players, especially in the second half, they will be getting some reinforcements. Dwight Powell, Dorian Finney-Smith, and Frank Ntilikina who had missed time to obtain visas, will be back in the rotation against the Clippers on Friday.
As it pertains to the logistics for the Clippers, their injury report is once again extensive. Kawhi Leonard, Serge Ibaka, and Jason Preston each remain sidelined with injuries, while Ivica Zubac is questionable with a right shoulder sprain. Marcus Morris will once again be out for rest, while Nicolas Batum will join him on the sidelines for the same reason.
Everyone else should be available for the Clippers as they travel to Dallas for their third pre-season exhibition. The game will begin at 5:30 PM PST and will be televised on Bally Sports.