The LA Clippers will aim to absolve themselves of two embarrassing losses as they enter Monday night’s matchup against the Dallas Mavericks: 1) their 20-point loss to the New Orleans Pelicans from just 24 hours prior, and 2) their infamous 51-point loss to these same Mavericks back on Dec. 27.
LA is currently in the midst of their worst stretch of the season, going 4-7 over their last eleven games. Sunday night was just the latest example of their inconsistency in terms of effort and defensive energy. They still have time to course-correct before the postseason begins, but they need to start building good habits soon. It’ll be tough to establish continuity against the Mavericks, as LA will once again be missing Patrick Beverley with right knee soreness. It is also unclear if Serge Ibaka will play, as the starting center left the Pelicans game midway through the first quarter with back spasms.
In terms of building on the past, it might just be better to throw the previous Mavericks game out the window. “Fluke” might be too strong of a word, but the biggest loss in franchise history for any team should be considered an extreme outlier in terms of average outcome. LA scored just 73 (!!!) points in that loss—34% from the field and 12% from three-point range for a team that currently ranks as the no. 3 offense and the no. 1 three-point shooting team in terms of efficiency across the entire league. It’s extremely likely that there will be a regression to the mean in this matchup.
Still, the Mavericks could give the Clippers a lot of trouble. Luka Doncic is an offensive sorcerer, averaging 28 points, eight rebounds and nine assists this season. He and his Mavericks are currently in contrast with the Clippers, as they are in the midst of their best stretch of the season, going 11-3 in their last 14 games.
Catching a team in the midst of a hot streak on the second night of a back-to-back, in their home arena no less, could wind up being a schedule loss. Unfortunately, the Clippers no longer have the luxury of these sorts of excuses. If they take yet another loss, many media members and fans will be quick to hit the panic button, as is their wont when the trade deadline approaches.
How to Watch
Matchup: LA Clippers (25-15) at Dallas Mavericks (20-17)
Date: Monday, March 15
Time: 6:00 p.m. PT
Venue: American Airlines Center
Broadcast Information: NBA League Pass
Spread: Clippers -1.5
Moneyline: Mavericks +104, Clippers -122
Point Total: O/U 227
Odds courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook