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Mavs vs. Clippers GAMEDAY: Porzingis Probable; Game 2 Winnable?

A win vs. the Clippers in Game 2 of this opening NBA Playoffs series would be the Dallas Mavs' first postseason win since the 2016 series vs. OKC; it's doable - with an if-healthy Porzingis helping Doncic

The Dallas Mavericks set out to even their first-round NBA Western Conference playoff series with the Los Angeles Clippers when they face off against at 8 p.m. CT on Wednesday in Orlando. 

“Our belief is still strong that we can beat these guys,” Kristaps Porzingis said. “If we didn’t have the belief, we wouldn’t be here. That’s our mindset going into the second game.”

After a potentially unsettling development for the Mavericks that Porzingis’ appearance on the late-Tuesday-afternoon injury report as questionable for Wednesday night’s Game 2 due to soreness in his right knee... The latest injury update reports Porzingis as 'probable'.

It was the other knee in which Porzingis tore the ACL in 2018, but he did sit out 10 games due to right soreness this season, from New Year’s Eve to Jan. 17.

Provided Porzingis is able to play Wednesday night, he is part of the doubt that the Clippers carry into the game. Would having 7-3 Porzingis for more than 20 minutes in Game 1 have made Dallas the better team?

Clippers coach Doc Rivers said that his team gambled too much defensively in the first half, which he said helped allow Dallas to go on that 48-18 run.

“We got up so quick, I guess our guys, they thought Dallas was just going to go away,” he said. “We thought the game was going to be easy. It’s probably a great lesson for us, you know?”

Lesson, or cause for alarm? Do the Clippers even know?

In doing so the Mavericks will seek to win a playoff game for the first time since Game 2 of the first round of the 2016 NBA Playoffs, when the Mavs defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder, 85-84. In fact, the Mavs are trying to turn around a shoddy playoff record since they won their 2011 NBA crown. Beginning with the 2012 postseason the Mavs are 5-17 in five postseason trips, including the Game 1, 118-110 loss to the Clippers on Monday night.

READ MORE: Even Clippers Admit Mavs Got Screwed On KP Calls

The Mavs will likely send out a similar starting lineup to Monday’s Game 1, led by forward Luka Doncic. Porzingis, who missed most of the second half of Game 1 after being thrown out of the game after earning a second technical foul, is expected back. Dorian Finney-Smith, guard Tim Hardaway Jr. Maxi Kleber (who jumped ahead of Seth Curry) rounded out Monday’s starting lineup. All but Porzingis played at least 30 minutes, with Curry being the only Mav coming off the bench to play at least 30 minutes.

The Clippers were likely to use the same starting lineup for Game 2 — guards Patrick Beverley and Paul George, forwards Kawhi Leonard and Marcus Morris and center Ivica Zubac. But Beverley (calf) is out.

 It’s likely the Clippers will look for more from Montrezl Harrell, who played his first game in the Bubble on Monday after missing all eight seeding games to tend to personal matters and had to quarantine when he returned. Despite that he played nearly 15 minutes off the bench on Monday.

THE LOOK-BACK

Our Richie Whitt took care of the game story from Monday’s Game 1, with the Mavs falling by eight points to the Clippers. The Mavs, at one point, were down 18-2 in the first quarter, but rallied to make it a contest throughout.

Luka Doncic played his first NBA playoff game on Monday, and he set a record, scoring the most points of any player in their NBA playoff debut (42 points). Our Matt Galatzan reviewed the night.

You probably heard about the ejection of Kristaps Porzingis in the third quarter of Monday’s game (and you’re going to hear more about it later on in this piece). Well, even the Clippers think the second technical wasn’t warranted. Our Mike Fisher roped in the quotes and the context, including some advice for KP.

And, just in case you missed it, our StepBack Mavs Podcast hosts, Matt Galatzan and Dalton Trigg, had a special guest for their Mavs-Clippers playoff preview — Mavs owner Mark Cuban. These are the kinds of guests these two get for their excellent podcast.

Finally, Monday’s game was the Mavs’ first playoff game in four years. But it was their first playoff game without Dirk Nowitzki on their ROSTER in 30 years. Yours truly, Matthew Postins, takes a look back.

WHY GAME 2 MATTERS: It’s that old playoff adage — “You never want to fall behind 0-2 in a best-of-7 series.” The percentages are not with you. That’s what the Mavs face on Wednesday night. They don’t want to fall behind 0-2 against the No. 2-seeded Clippers. In fact, the Mavs have rallied from an 0-2 deficit in a best-of-7 series just one time — 2005 against the Houston Rockets. The Mavs lost the first two games, then won four of the next five to advance to the second round. So, yeah, there’s quite a bit at stake, based on history.

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QUOTABLE: Coach Rick Carlisle on the KP technical fouls:

“The thing that happened with [Kristaps Porzingis] is unfortunate. We have to learn from it, and we have to understand that this is part of the emotions of the playoffs. He was protecting his teammate on the second technical, which is the right thing to do in the playoffs. But the first one, where it was an air punch, that’s automatic. They called one on him and they called one on George. We’ll avoid that in Game 2 and we’ll go from there.”

NUMBER TO KNOW: 21. That’s the number of turnovers the Mavs had in Game 1 of the series. Wanna get under Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle’s skin? Do that again in Game 2. The Mavs were minus-9 in turnover ratio for the game (The Clippers had 12). According to basketballreference.com, the Mavs were averaging 12.7 turnovers per game entering the contest.

KP AND THE T: The reaction to the second technical foul called on Kristaps Porzingis on Monday night was, well, pretty universal in its disdain. Here’s a sample, starting with the local legend.

Right around the same time, response came from one of the game’s best players.

Want more? How about the current Super Bowl MVP (who is a Texan, btw).

Even current teammates came to KP’s defense, especially the one that KP was sticking up for before the second technical.

It's the NBA Playoffs, so controversy is bound to come. Game 2 should be quite fun.

Western Conference Playoffs, Round 1

Game Time: 8 p.m. CT Wednesday

Location: Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando

TV/Radio: Fox Sports Southwest, Mavs.com, ESPN 103.3 FM, TNT

Series Schedule, Results

Game 1: Clippers 118, Mavericks 110 (Clippers leads series, 1-0)

Game 2: Wednesday, 8 p.m., TNT

Game 3: Friday, 8 p.m., TNT

Game 4: Sunday, 2:30 p.m., ABC

Game 5: Tuesday, Aug. 25, time and TV TBD (if necessary)

Game 6: Thursday, Aug. 27, ESPN, time TBD (if necessary)

Game 7: Saturday, Aug. 29, TNT, time TBD (if necessary)

THE FINAL WORD: “We felt we should have won, but we’ve got to move on to the next game.'' - Dorian Finney-Smith.