Three Things the Mavs Must Do to Defeat the Clippers in the First Round

The Mavs need to do these three things to get past the Clippers in round one of the playoffs.
Dallas Mavericks v Miami Heat
Dallas Mavericks v Miami Heat / Megan Briggs/GettyImages
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3. The Mavs Must Play Sound Defense Throughout The Series

Unfortunately for the Mavs, the defense has been their biggest weakness throughout Jason Kidd's tenure in Dallas. This was the case once again throughout the regular season, as the Mavs finished near the bottom of the league in several defensive categories, including opponent points allowed per game and defensive efficiency. They were in the bottom five of the Western Conference for both these categories and several other defensive categories, which does not bode well for their upcoming matchup.

If the Mavericks want to get past the Clippers, they must have their best defensive performance of the year. Fortunately, Dallas was improving on the defensive side of things towards the end of the season, as they were able to hold sixteen of their last twenty-three opponents to only 110 points or less.

The Mavs' holding their opponents to under 110 points is a vast improvement compared to how the team started the season when they allowed eighteen of their first thirty opponents to score 110 or more.  

The Mavericks personnel has also improved on defense since the season started in October. The acquisitions of both P.J. Washington and Daniel Gafford have helped transform the Mavs' defense, especially in the paint, which has been an area of weakness that has been exposed by opponents for several years now. Gafford's presence in the paint, along with the presence of rookie center Dereck Lively, has prevented opponents from scoring in the paint with ease as they have been able to in the past. 

Overall, the Mavs' defense must continue to trend in a positive direction as it will be a big determining  factor on if they can't make it to the second round or not. They can not rely on offense alone to win against the Clippers; they must have an effective defensive scheme both on the perimeter and in the paint to advance.

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