Dallas Mavericks vs LA Clippers: 3 players who could be an X-factor

Dallas Mavericks (Photo by Kim Klement - Pool/Getty Images)
Dallas Mavericks (Photo by Kim Klement - Pool/Getty Images) /
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Dallas Mavericks, LA Clippers, NBA playoffs
Dallas Mavericks, LA Clippers, NBA playoffs (Photo by Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images) /

Analyzing both the Dallas Mavericks and LA Clippers by looking at three players who could be the difference-makers in their matchup in the NBA playoffs.

The Dallas Mavericks make their first playoff appearance since 2016, marking their 16th playoff appearance in team history. Monday night against the LA Clippers, they’ll be coming in with the best offense in NBA history. The Mavs’ offensive rating of 115.9 points per 100 possessions surpassed the old record of 115 points per 100 possessions set last season by the Golden State Warriors.

Dallas will need to keep up this efficient offense going into the playoffs, along with stout defense to upset the Clippers in the first round.

The Clippers are a team full of veteran players with playoff experience and one Kawhi Leonard, who has a pair of championships and a Finals MVP. Leonard, who is coming off one of the best playoff runs ever in the scoring department, is poised for another dominant run.

Last season, he put himself in elite company by scoring 732 points in a single playoff run. Ranking him third all-time in points in a single postseason behind only LeBron James (748) in 2018 and Michael Jordan (759) in 1992.

Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle realizes his team needs to be ready:

"“They’re deep, they’re physical, they’re experienced — those are the big things,” Carlisle said. “It’s an experienced team that plays with attitude so we’re going to have to prepare for that. We’re going to have to attack them hard.”"

After last Monday’s win against the Jazz, that victory cemented the Mavs finishing the season as the only team in the NBA without a 3-game losing streak.

This first-round matchup will have many players who will help determine the series, but there are some who will be more key than others.

Who exactly are those players? My top 3: