Extra Pass: Doncic, Mavericks collide with Clippers

Published November 15, 2022, 5:10 PMPolo Bustamante

Luka Doncic and the Mavericks hope to win their second straight game when they play the Clippers tomorrow on NBA TV Philippines.

What’s up with the Dallas Mavericks?

The Mavericks are coming off a big upset win over the top-seeded Portland Trail Blazers in their last game. It wasn’t the cleanest of wins as they needed another superhuman effort from Luka Doncic to put away the Blazers. Doncic needed to unleash a 40-point triple-double (scoring 42 points, grabbing 13 rebounds, and dishing out 10 dimes) in that game.

Doncic has been playing at an MVP level, averaging 34.3 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 8.1 assists per game this season. However, there’s a disconnect. Even if their franchise player is rolling, the team isn’t. The Mavericks have been inconsistent with a 7-5 record and are stuck in the middle of the West.

The culprit for their mediocre start has been their difficulties on the defensive end. Last season, Dallas was a borderline top-five defense, giving up only 109 points per 100 possessions. This season, they’ve fallen slightly to 10th in the league (111.0 defensive rating).

Then again, the Mavericks also started slow last year. Midway through the season, they found their footing defensively and finished with the fourth-best record in the league. The biggest difference from last season is that Doncic is playing out of his mind. 

If the Mavericks can regain their defensive form from last season, coupled with Doncic’s torrid play, then they can really make a run to the top of the West standings. That run could start in their next game against the LA Clippers.

What’s up with the LA Clippers?

When it comes to defense, though, there are few teams better than the Clippers. Literally. LA is third in the league in terms of defensive rating, behind only the Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns. They’re giving up only 108.5 points per 100 possessions so far this season.

That’s the main reason they’re hanging around other West teams despite playing most of their games this season without their superstar, Kawhi Leonard. The Clippers are 7-6 for the season and haven’t really gotten on a roll this season yet.

Looking at the positive side, they’re coming off a relatively easy win over the Houston Rockets and are 5-2 in November so far. They’ve taken advantage of a relatively easy schedule this month to pad their win total, staying in the eighth spot in the conference.

Paul George continues to carry this team in the absence of Leonard. He’s averaging a 27-5-4 line in November and has solid support with five other Clippers scoring in double figures. The Clippers are just biding their time until Leonard returns to boost their campaign this season. 

Storyline to watch out for

Doncic has made it a habit of torching the Clippers. He’s averaging a 31-8-8 statline against them for his career. That’s why it will be interesting to see what defensive scheme the Clippers come up with against the Doncic in their first matchup this season. 

So far nothing has worked against Doncic. All Coach Ty Lue can do is create a scheme with his current rotation with the hopes of slowing down the Dallas superstar. Will he sacrifice George’s energy on offense by putting him on Doncic? Will they double him hard to get the ball out of his hands? Will they let him go wild and shut down everyone else? These are tough questions that the Clippers need to answer in their next game.


The Clippers will try their best to slow down the MVP frontrunner but with no real difference in personnel from their previous meetings, it’s tough to see a real path of success for them.

The road to winning for the Mavericks is clearer. Give the ball to Doncic and get out of the way. With how he’s been playing so far this season, it’s tough to bet against that.

Where to watch

You can watch Luka Doncic lead the Mavericks against Paul George and the Clippers live tomorrow at 9:30 AM on NBA TV Philippines, available via Smart GigaPlay and Cignal TV, or League Pass.