Arguably the most talked-about opening-round NBA playoff game featured the Dallas Mavericks and LA Clippers. In young star Luka Doncic’s postseason debut, things went a bit off the rails early, as fellow star Kristaps Porzingis was ejected after a questionable play during Game 1.
The decision by the officials to eject Porzingis appeared to shift the entire landscape and outlook of the game, as the Clippers went on to pull away and grab a 118-110 victory thanks to a dominant second half. Heading into halftime, the Mavericks looked to be in prime position to pull off an upset, leading 69-66.
Now, Doncic, potentially Porzingis (barring an injury update) and the Mavericks will look to steal Game 2 and even up the series on Wednesday. It’ll be a tall task against Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and a Clippers team that many believe will make a run at the NBA title and could be the legitimate favorite in the Western Conference, especially after the Los Angeles Lakers fell in their playoff opener.
Game 1 Impact On The Bet
The Clippers were 6.5-point favorites in the opener, so they narrowly covered the spread even with Porzingis watching from the locker room. Unfortunately, the young big man is listed as questionable for this game due to injury, so his status will be worth monitoring. Regardless of whether Porzingis plays or not, this should be the Doncic Show on the Mavericks side.
Doncic posted a stellar stat line of 42 points, nine assists and seven rebounds in 38 minutes, but also committed 11 turnovers. He received help in the scoring department from Tim Hardaway Jr. with 18 points, and Seth Curry off the bench, who tacked on a solid 14.
While Doncic has been one of the primary stars to watch through the NBA bubble action in Orlando, the Clippers feature a superb amount of talent, and their two biggest names were clutch in Game 1. Leonard poured in 29 points with 12 rebounds and six assists while George had 27 points.
The play of Lou Williams off the bench (14 points in Game 1) could be key to the Clippers avoiding an upset on Wednesday.
Betting Line And Odds For Game 2
The Clippers are a six-point favorite at -108 at FanDuel Sportsbook. It’s tough to envision the Mavericks not coming out hungry to get some revenge after the officials in this game seemingly played a part in shifting the momentum.
Regardless, the Clippers deserve to be favored here, but I think we see Dallas come out gunning for the upset and make a real push at getting the job done.
I don’t hate the idea of taking the Mavericks on the moneyline at +200, but playing it safe with them getting six points is a decent play, especially if Porzingis suits up. If the big man is ruled out for this game, which appears unlikely currently, the Mavericks will almost certainly become a bigger underdog, and I’d love to see the number move to around eight or nine points.
The status of Porzingis will be incredibly important to watch, and it likely makes sense to hold off on making a final bet until we get an update on the Mavericks big man. After his ejection, I’d be surprised if he sits this one out.
While he may not be 100 percent, he looked good in Game 1 prior to being sent to the locker room. If he’s a go, then the Mavericks are the side I’m sticking with here.
Pick: Dallas Mavericks +6