Clippers vs. Mavericks: NBA Playoffs First Round Preview | Inside the Association

The "Inside the Association" crew previews the Mavericks vs. Clippers matchup in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.

Video Transcript

- The initial reaction about Dallas versus Clippers, first round. Go.

- Happy, pleased, overwhelmed with joy that we get this matchup. And Cam, it's not that we just get this matchup with Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving and potentially Kawhi Leonard and Paul George and James Harden. It's not that we just get the matchup. It's the fact that we know it so far in advance that both of these teams can rest. And so these teams will come in, you would assume, at full health.

And obviously, Kawhi Leonard, we don't know the extent of his most recent injury. But I would hope, and I'm assuming, that it's a lot of injury maintenance. So he should be good to go once this series gets started. This series is going to be absolutely fascinating because of all the star power we have and because of the abilities of the two main characters in this series.

Luka Doncic-- and if you look at Luka Doncic in general, we know how good he is. But his superpower among all, in my belief, is his ability to control the pace of the game. Because if you look at the top-line talent-- Westbrook, Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, James Harden. You look at the top-line talent, you would say the Clippers are better.

But when you're able to control the pace, when the game operates at your speed, which is what Luka Doncic does as best as anybody-- than anybody in the NBA, then it really brings everything to a more even split.

- Yeah. Yeah.

- It's going to be a beautiful series. I cannot wait. This is primetime right here.

- I'm the same way with you, man. When I found out the matchup, I'm like, look, this is going to be something that's going to require my attention. So I'm already sending a text to my wife like, look, when the Clippers and Mavs are on, you got to hold down the household because I will be locked in to this one every single night they get on the court.

But when you have-- and you mentioned the pace about the Dallas Mavericks, top 10 in the NBA when it comes to pace. So this is a team that can thrive and be successful in any style. If you want to go up and down, they can do that. If you want to make it a half-court game, they can do that as well. But if you haven't watched the Mavs put in real, true work since the all-star break-- and let's be honest, they've been putting in work throughout the regular season.

But they've made a difference when it came to after the trade deadline and acquiring PJ Washington, Daniel Gafford, who's continuing on with his consecutive field-goal streak. He almost got Wilt Chamberlain, but he's building a new one. He has 22 straight field goals for himself and trying to get wilt Chamberlain when it comes to the record books. But those two additions, along with the cohesion of a Kyrie Irving with Luka Doncic and how they've been able to be so successful on the court together.

That was the biggest question last year with these two when Kyrie was in Dallas. Could they thrive? Could they coexist on the court? Well, they're proving that they can do that. And we got to give some love to Head Coach Jason Kidd and what he's been able to do with this Dallas Mavericks team on both ends of the floor. Because this is one of the better defensive teams. And also, we know what they can do offensively.

So you have that head-coaching duel when it comes to Jason Kidd against Ty Lue. You have the individual player matchup with Paul George and Luka, Kyrie and Paul George, Kawhi and Luka. So many different ways you can go with that thing. But from a team standpoint, you're going to see great offense because both of these groups are true shooting-percentage kings. They are top 10 in the NBA when it comes to that category.

So the offense will be there. The defense will be there. What chess match and what chess move can Ty Lue or Jason Kidd make to have their team at the front when we get towards possibly a team getting ready to clinch this series?

- I will say it's really going to come down to James Harden.

- Yeah.

- Not just his ability to facilitate and score as a third option for the Clippers. But we know what Luka is going to do. We know what Kyrie is going to do.

- Right.

- Bring his man.

- Right.

- Bring his man.

- Yeah.

- Force the switch.

- Yeah.

- Now Harden is going to have to guard Luka. Now Harden is going to have to guard Kyrie. How does he manage? Because they're going to find him, and they're going to pick on him. What he does in those moments and what he does to facilitate the offense on the other end, major key.