Will Kawhi Leonard Play Tonight? LA Clippers vs Dallas Mavericks Game 3: Prediction, Injuries, & Lineups

Published 05/28/2021, 7:02 PM EDT
Mar 15, 2021; Dallas, Texas, USA; LA Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2) drives to the basket as Dallas Mavericks forward Dorian Finney-Smith (10) defends during the second half at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports


The LA Clippers are in a must win game as they visit the high flying Dallas Mavericks for the third game of the series. With the Mavs leading the series at 2-0, the Clippers need to win this game or might at the risk of crashing out in the first round itself.

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After a lacklustre performance in the first game against the Mavs, the Clippers were expected to step up against Luka Doncic & Co. in the second game. While superstars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George put on great displays offensively combing for 69 points, they were pretty disappointing in the defensive end.

With the team heavily reliant on ‘the Klaw’ on offense, coach Tyronn Lue hasn’t deployed Leonard as the primary defender for Luka. The Slovenian has certainly taken advantage of this. Guarded by other defenders like Patrick Beverley and Ivica Zubac, Doncic is having a field day.

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May 22, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; LA Clippers guard Paul George (13) knocks the ball away from Dallas Mavericks center Kristaps Porzingis (6) in the first quarter during game one in the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

After their latest 127-121 defeat, the Clippers have to step up defensively and at least limit Doncic. Slowing down Doncic might disrupt the Mavs’ offense and will be key for them to make a comeback.

The Mavericks meanwhile are in blazing form right now. After shooting 47.2% from the three point line, the Mavs had yet another insane shooting night as they shot 52.9% from the perimeter.

Starters Tim Hardaway Jr., Kristaps Porzingis and Maxi Kleber combined for 61 points in the second game. If the Mavs want to continue their dominant performance in the series, their role players need to remain consistent. They have produced the goods in the first two games, can they provide the support required for the rest of the series?

Predictions

The Mavericks are in red-hot form going into this game and their talisman Luka Doncic has by far been the best player in the series. While the Mavs have shot over 47% or more of their perimeter shots, it is pretty rare that a team can maintain such a high level of shooting in a daily basis. This is certainly a must-win for the Clippers. Given how high the stakes are for the fourth seed, the Clippers might have some tricks upon their sleeve and might steal this game away from Dallas.

LA Clippers’ injury updates and predicted lineup

The Clippers have a rather fit squad available for their game against the Mavericks. They are down 0-2 in the series and need their team to finally step up. Will the Clippers be able to turn this around?

Mar 15, 2021; Dallas, Texas, USA; LA Clippers guard Paul George (13) celebrates with teammates during the fourth quarter against the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Probable Lineup

Patrick Beverley (G)

Paul George (G)

Kawhi Leonard (G)

Marcus Morris Sr. (F)

Ivica Zubac (C)

Dallas Mavericks: Injury updates and expected lineup

The Mavericks might miss two key players. Veteran shooter JJ Reddick is out with a heel injury and forward Maxi Kleber is questionable from the roster as he recovers from an Achilles issue.

May 25, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) reacts in the closing second of the Mavericks win over the LA Clippers in game two of the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

The Mavericks have the upper-hand in this matchup and given the Mavericks will be playing in their home arena, the team will be determined to seal off this series with a win.

Predicted Lineup

Luka Doncic (G)

Josh Richardson (G)

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Dorian Finney Smith (G)

Maxi Kleber (F)

Kristaps Porzingis (C)

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Who will win between the Dallas Mavericks and the LA Clippers? Let us know in the comments below.

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Aditya Mohapatra

845 articles

Aditya Mohapatra is a sports enthusiast who primarily covers the NBA for EssentiallySports. Having graduated in Mass Communication, he has prior experience in writing for ABP News, and has been writing for EssentiallySports since November 2020. This die-hard Los Angeles Lakers fan feels that LeBron James is the best thing to have ever happened to the NBA, and will hold a healthy debate with anyone suggesting otherwise.

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