3 Dallas Mavericks on Thin Ice After Shocking Game 1 Loss

The Dallas Mavericks suffered a shocking blowout loss to the Clippers in Game 1. These three players are on the hot seat going forward.
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
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The NBA Playoffs are officially underway but the Dallas Mavericks looked like they had no idea on Sunday. In a game where they were favored, the Mavericks were a complete no-show against the short-handed Los Angeles Clippers, scoring only 30 points in the first half and getting run out of the gym.

This was certainly not the way Dallas was hoping to start the series. One of the hottest teams in the league over the last month, the Mavericks had all the momentum in the world behind them. Add Kawhi Leonard's injury on the other side and Dallas was expected to take care of business in Game 1. By failing to show up, they turned Game 2 into a must-win occasion for themselves.

Kawhi Leonard's status is uncertain but he has been practicing. He will presumably come back for Game 2 or Game 3. The Mavs need to have a 1-1 series heading back to Dallas when Leonard returns. For that to happen, however, a couple of players need to play much better. Otherwise, their roles going forward, as well as their futures with the Mavs, will be in jeopardy.

1. Daniel Gafford

Gafford was acquired by the Washington Wizards mid-season to bolster the center rotation while rookie Dereck Lively continued to get acclimated. The Mavs were hoping for rim protection and interior presence Gafford could provide but that hasn't come to fruition so far.

In Game 1 against the Clippers, Gafford was a non-factor. He picked up two quick fouls in three minutes to start the game and never got into a rhythm, finishing with three points and zero rebounds on 1/4 shooting from the field in 14 minutes. Clippers center Ivica Zubac dominated the paint, scoring 20 points and grabbing 15 rebounds in the game.

Gafford needs to play much better in the next game. He can't afford to get physically overwhelmed by Zubac again. Otherwise, the Mavs might be better off giving Lively more minutes or going small for longer periods.