Three takeaways from Clippers’ Game 1 victory over Mavericks

The Clippers never trailed on their way to a dominating win over the Dallas Mavericks in Game 1 of their seven-game series.

LOS ANGELES — The Clippers never trailed on their way to a dominating win over the Dallas Mavericks in Game 1 of their seven-game series. Los Angeles had things going on both ends on the floor led by big performances from James Harden and Ivica Zubac. The Clippers slowed the string Mavericks down by holding them to only eight points in the second quarter going into the half with a 56-30 lead. They never let up as Dallas never got the lead below 10 points in the second half. The two teams face-off Tuesday night in Game 2, where the Clippers will look to duplicate their Game 1 performance.

Here are three things that stood out that helped the Clippers pickup the Game 1 win:

No Kawhi, no problem

All the talk before the game was whether Kawhi Leonard would be available for Game 1. Many pundits felt the Clippers would not be as competitive without the all star forward but Game 1 proved everyone wrong. Leonard hasn’t played since March 31st. The time missed gave the Clippers nearly a month to prepare for life without Leonard. Game 1 showed that the team was ready to go. Amir Coffey started in his place and played good defense when matched up with Kyrie Irving or Luka Doncic. 

Depth may be the Clippers biggest advantage 

“We obviously want Kawhi back when he’s ready,” George said. “The luxury we have is just experience with James, myself, Russ, Norm’s been in big playoff battles.” With veterans like George, Harden Westbrook and Powell. The Clippers didn’t miss a beat without Leonard and proved to the basketball world with or without Leonard the Clippers will be a tough matchup going forward. Those vets listed above will have to bring the same energy and performance to win Game 2.

Coming into this seriesmost basketball fans and expert understood that the Mavericks came in with two of the better players with Doncic and Irving. But that’s where it stops! Yesterday’s game clearly shows that the Clippers way more depth compared to Dallas. The Clippers had five players in double figures including three players with 20 more points without Leonard suiting up. Los Angles got 25 minutes or more out of seven players while only four players hit that mark for the Mavericks.

Dallas’ offense is so dependent on Doncic & Irving while the Clippers look to get more players involved. Though the Doncic & Irving combined for 64 points, the rest of the team only scored 33 points. The Clippers depth may be the advantage that helps them win this series and they will continue to look to their depth to help them win tomorrow night.

Zubac may be too much for Mavs bigs this series

“When I’m out there, I’m going to try to punish them in the post,” said Zubac, in his sixth season with the team. “I want to be the best version I can be for this team.”

If this is the Zubac that we see the rest of the series the Mavericks are in trouble. The big man played well from the first play on. The first play of the game went through the Clippers big and he took advantage. He attacked early and often on his way to 20 points and 15 rebounds. He set the tone for Los Angeles and outplayed the Mavericks bigs on his own. Dallas’ primary bigs Daniel Gafford and Dereck Lively II combined to add six points and four rebounds in 33 minutes. With Zu controlling the paint that’s another element of this team that helps them play like a true championship contender and makes them favorites for a Game 2 win.