DALLAS - While the consensus entering this series was for the Los Angeles Clippers to win the Round 1 duel against the Dallas Mavericks, it hasn't played out that way.
The Mavericks managed to take Game 1 at Staples Center and followed that up by doing it again in Game 2. Luka Doncic has been dominant while his supporting cast has been firing on all cylinders.
When asked if there is any concern with being down 0-2 in the series to the Mavericks, Paul George made a bold claim.
"There is none," George said. "We got to rise to the occasion. Fact of the matter is if we don't, we're done for. There's no level of concern."
While a player is obviously not going to admit to there being panic from himself or his team, it's difficult to envision a club in this year's playoffs who is currently facing more pressure than the Clippers.
But George is not alone in his stated belief.
Said: Clippers coach Tyronn Lue: "I'm not concerned. They won two games on our home floor and now we got to return the favor."
That is mathematically true. But it is also mathematically true that teams up 2-0 win their series 94 percent of the time. It is also true that LA has no answer for Doncic, who has 31 and 37 points in the two outings.
The Clippers have encountered no shortage of struggles when it comes to slowing down the scorching-hot Mavericks offense. Sending multiple defenders at Doncic has enabled Dallas' role players to attack off-the-catch against a unit in recovery mode.
Los Angeles faces a classic case of 'pick your poison' entering Game 3: Either allow Doncic to potentially rip the defense apart against more neutral coverages, or continue to gamble on their complementary talents knocking down jumpers and making off-the-catch plays.
The supporting cast around Kawhi Leonard has been another disappointment. George is playing respectably but hasn't been performing at an elite level. Meanwhile, Marcus Morris Sr. and Reggie Jackson have been the third and fourth options and have been underwhelming for the West's No. 4 seed and its supposed "championship roster.''
It seems the No. 5 Dallas Mavericks genuinely are a better team than what the seeding suggested. Luka Doncic elevates them significantly and he has a cohesive cast of teammates around him.
Maybe the Clippers are telling the truth about being worry-free as a Friday Game 3 in front of 15,000 MFFLs at the AAC approaches.
Or maybe they are whistling past their own graveyard.