After a 4-0 start, the Los Angeles Clippers have suffered a pair of embarrassing defeats, a trend they hope to reverse when they host the struggling Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday. The perfect start was thwarted by a 95-87 loss to Detroit in which the Clippers shot a season-low 33 percent and committed a season-high 18 turnovers.
Los Angeles followed that up with a non-competitive 141-113 loss to Golden State, its 11th consecutive defeat to the Pacific Division rivals. “I don’t think they get enough credit defensively. It’s amazing,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers told reporters after his team lost every quarter by at least four points. “Whenever we talk about Golden State, we only talk about their offense. And I think their defense is what sets them apart.” The Mavericks offer a significant step down from the Warriors, as they average 22.7 points fewer than mighty Golden State and have dropped three in a row. Dirk Nowitzki was the lone starter in double figures with 18 points in Monday’s 104-89 loss at Utah.
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN, FS Southwest (Dallas), Prime Ticket (Los Angeles)
ABOUT THE MAVERICKS (1-7): Rookie Dennis Smith Jr. has shown flashes of brilliance early in his debut season, but road games have been a challenge. The 19-year-old is averaging 5.5 points on 23.8 percent shooting with four turnovers in his two games away from home, compared to 14.3 points on 46.8 percent and 2.8 turnovers in Dallas. His backup, veteran J.J. Barea, has six double-digit scoring efforts in the first eight games despite playing an average of 23.3 minutes.
ABOUT THE CLIPPERS (4-2): The Warriors clamped down on forward Blake Griffin, who was doubled often and finished with season lows in points (16), shot attempts (10) and rebounds (three). “They came pretty early,” Griffin said of the double teams. “Some teams wait for the first dribble, some teams wait until you have a foot outside the lane. They doubled pretty early and pretty consistently throughout the game.” A bright spot in the rout was the effort of forward Danilo Gallinari, who scored a season-high 19 points while shooting better than 50 percent for the first time in 2017-18.
1. Clippers C DeAndre Jordan entered Tuesday leading the NBA in rebounding (16.3), 9.9 more than any Dallas player.
2. Mavericks SF Harrison Barnes made 7-of-12 3-pointers in a loss to Philadelphia on Saturday but is 5-for-25 from beyond the arc in the other seven games.
3. The teams split four meetings last season, each squad winning once on the road.
PREDICTION: Clippers 113, Mavericks 97