Dallas Mavericks

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Dallas Mavericks’ Dereck Lively II Anchoring Improved Defense Against Clippers

The Dallas Mavericks center has been a force at the rim against the LA Clippers during the first round


The Dallas Mavericks lead the LA Clippers 3-2 through Game 5 of the first-round series. The NBA playoffs have mostly offered lopsided series results in the Western Conference, but the Mavericks’ series doesn’t fit the bill.



The difference between a Mavericks win and a loss has been clear. The offense hasn’t been too much of an issue outside of Game 1, but their defensive results can be seen in the win-and-loss column. For example, the Mavericks’ allowed the Clippers 18 3-pointers made in Game 1, which ended up being a loss. The Clippers also made 18 3-pointers in Game 4, the Mavericks’ second loss of the series.


In Games 2, 3, and 5, the Mavericks allowed ten or fewer 3-pointers made from the Clippers. Running them off the line or forcing bad looks from beyond the arc has been a reason for success for the Mavericks, who have shown improved defense throughout the series.

Behind Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving, impressive offensive performances are expected, but running the Clippers off the line defensively only does so much if there’s no rim protection. Cue rookie Dereck Lively II to make a huge impact.


The rookie center out of Duke has been incredible on the defensive side of the ball this series. NBA University pulled a stat that opposing players are shooting 9-of-28 while shooting within six feet of Lively’s presence, which is primarily at the rim.



It’s a small sample size, but if the Mavericks are going to force the Clippers to the rim to ruin their offensive rhythm, Lively has got to be on the floor for his defensive presence.


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