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Takeaways from the Clippers versus Mavericks series after Game 4

The LA Clippers and Dallas Mavericks are even after the Clippers' 116-111 Game 4 win in Dallas.

LOS ANGELES — The LA Clippers and Dallas Mavericks are even after the Clippers 116-111 Game 4 win in Dallas. In a instant playoff classic, the Clippers were able to hold on after giving up a 31-point lead to the Mavericks. James Harden and Paul George were huge late to help Los Angeles secure the win. The duo combined to score 66 points with each of them scoring 33 points apiece. The Clippers shot lights out from three making 18 of 29 attempts. Los Angeles now looks to pick up a win at home on Wednesday night to take control of the series.

Here are a few takeaways from yesterday’s game and what they mean for the Clippers heading into Game 5:

No Kawhi, no problem pt. 2

The Clippers were able to pick up their second win of the series without star forward Kawhi Leonard. Leonard, who played and games 2 & 3 didn’t look like himself on the floor. The knee inflammation clearly bothered him and his play did not help the team. The Clippers aren’t sure he’ll make it back for the third Western Conference first-round meeting between these teams in the past five seasons. 

You never want to see a guy like Leonard hurt missing any games but the Clippers may be better off without him for now. The Clippers played the last three weeks of the season with him and were able to find a groove with him sidelined. More space for George & Harden to operate has led to the two wins in this series for the Clippers. Without Leonard on the floor in this series, Harden averages 30.5 points, 7.5 assists and George averages 27.5 points, 5.5 assists & six rebounds . With Leonard in the lineup those numbers drop to 21.5 points and 6.5 assist for Harden and 14.5 points, 4.5 assists & 3.5 rebounds for George. The team is just better right now without Leonard and should allow him to rest to get healthy for an extended playoff run while Harden & George lead the team the rest of this series.

George & Harden have to match Doncic & Irving’s offensive output

When you are facing off against a duo as great as Luka Doncic & Kyrie Irving your top guys has to bring their A-game to win. With the Doncic & Irving duo averaging 57.8 points, 13 assists and 15.8 rebounds combined a game so far this series. 

The Clippers have come away with their two wins because of their duo of Harden & George has come close to matching Dallas’ star players output. In Los Angeles’ two wins, Harden & George have combined for 58 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds per game. The duo combined for 66 points, 15 assists and 12 rebounds in yesterday’s contest. Those two potential hall of famers for Los Angeles will have to continue to produce just as much as the Mavericks duo to win this series. Both teams are receiving good contribution from the “others” but its all about the superstars that will put one of these teamsover the top in this series. With no Leonard, the only way Clippers win this series is if Harden & George can continue to play well and keep up with Doncic & Irving.

The 3-point line will decide the series for Los Angeles

With the series nodded up at two games apiece, one thing is evident: if the Clippers make their threes they win this series. The Clippers have shot 124 3-pointers so far this series which is about 31 3-point shot attempts per game. In their two wins, Los Angeles has made 18 threes per game shooting 50% or better. In their losses, the Clippers has made only 9 threes per game shooting less than 35% from deep. 

If the Clippers want to move on past the Mavericks the outside shot has to fall. So creating open 3-point shot attempts will be key going forward. Drive and kicks, passes out of the post and fast break threes will be vital for the success the rest of the way for the Clippers.