DALLAS - The rematch begins Saturday, the NBA announcing that Game 1 of this series will take place that day, in L.A., with a tip-off time of 3:30 p.m. CT on ESPN.
Rematches are fine. Repeats, for the Dallas Mavericks against the Clippers in Round 1 of the NBA Playoffs? Not so much ... unless we're talking about a repeat of the regular-season series.
“People talk about last year in the playoffs, but they beat us by 50!” Nicolas Batum reminded.
The Clippers, who topped the Mavs 4-2 in last year's playoffs, did indeed lose their a game against Dallas in this regular season by 50 points - 51, actually.
The first-regular season rematch came three games into the year, a winless Dallas team traveling to the Staples Center to take on an L.A. team that didn't have Kawhi Leonard but was nevertheless 2-0. The Mavs, playing without Kristaps Porzingis, took an NBA-record 50-point lead into the halftime break and would win, 124-73.
Luka Doncic finished with a game-high 24 points to go along with nine rebounds and eight assists.
In mid-March came the other two meetings. They'd play twice in three days, in the first game at the AAC the Clippers earning a 109-99 win with Kawhi going 22 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. ... and in the ensuing meeting, Dallas All-Star guard Doncic ending with 42 points (on 16-for-28 shooting), nine assists, six rebounds, three steals and two blocks to lead Dallas to a 105-89 victory and take the season series.
Is there anything to take from the fact that the Mavs won their season series against the Clippers, 2-1? Sure. In fact, there are even things to take from the 4-2 problems from a year ago.
“This is where there’s no substitute for experience,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. “Having gone through that and some of the chippy things that happen in a playoff series, it’s a great learning experience. ... It's an important thing. The ultimate goal is to be better this year going in and give ourselves a better chance.”