Clippers' Kawhi Leonard Ruled Available For Game 3 Against Dallas Mavericks

In the Mavericks' first home game of the first-round, they'll have to face the Clippers with a healthy Kawhi Leonard.
Dec 20, 2023; Dallas, Texas, USA;  LA Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2) controls the ball as Dallas
Dec 20, 2023; Dallas, Texas, USA; LA Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2) controls the ball as Dallas / Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
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The Dallas Mavericks return home as they're set to host the LA Clippers for Game 3 of their first-round matchup. Tied 1-1, returning to Dallas provides a huge opportunity for the Mavericks to take a series lead, using their home-court advantage to potentially go up 3-1 heading back to LA for Game 5.

The matchup won't be the easiest as the Mavericks make their home playoff debut, though. Kawhi Leonard, who made his series debut in Game 2, has been made available after previously being listed as questionable for the matchup.

During the last game, Leonard's impact didn't lead to a Clippers win. The Mavericks still took care of business, though a bigger Leonard scoring impact could have changed the way things looked. It was a defensive-oriented battle in Game 2, in which the Mavericks scored 96 points. With each of Paul George, James Harden, and Leonard being healthy and active for a second-straight game, it's hard to imagine their offense won't improve.

The defense played by the Mavericks -- and the added effort on that end by Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic -- in Game 2 was a big reason for victory. They'll need the same effort and intensity defensively if they want to continue and find success, negating the impact of Leonard in this series.

In Game 2, Leonard played 35 minutes, shooting 7-of-17 for 15 points, finishing as a minus-eight in the box score. He still added seven rebounds, two assists and four steals in his first playoff game of the series.

Adjustments are going to come from head coach Tyronn Lue and the Clippers, and the Mavericks have to be ready for it on both sides of the ball. Both Irving and Doncic will make huge impacts on this game on both sides of the ball, as they'll have to be sharp on offense and defense to ensure a big victory in Game 3.

READ MORE: Clippers Trust 'Blueprint' to Stop Luka Doncic's Dallas Mavericks in Playoff Series

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Kade Kimble

KADE KIMBLE

Kade has been covering a wide variety of teams ranging from the NFL to the NBA and college athletics since joining Sports Illustrated's FanNation in 2022.