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“Can Never Count Them Out”: Shaquille O’Neal Previews Clippers-Mavericks 1st Round Playoffs Matchup

Trikansh Kher

“Can Never Count Them Out”: Shaquille O’Neal Previews Clippers-Mavericks 1st Round Playoffs Matchup

The playoffs are officially around the corner, and the playoff bracket has already spat out its first draw. The Dallas Mavericks will be taking on their long-time playoff rivals, the Los Angeles Clippers, to open up this year’s NBA playoffs. This will be the third time the two franchises face each other since Luka Doncic joined the Mavericks in 2018. As for now, there is no clarity on dates and locations for the season opener as both teams still have two games remaining.

Shaquille O’Neal and the remaining ‘Inside the NBA’ panel decided to dive deep into the upcoming match-up between the two Western Conference teams. Choosing the Clippers, Shaq opened the segment with his comments about the matchup,

“Yeah, Dallas is a really dangerous team…it depends on which Clippers team is going to show up. You just have to be wary of Kawhi Leonard and Playoff P…Everybody especially Chuck has high hopes for the Clippers… you can never count them out…I am just worried which Clippers team is going to show.” 

Barkley followed up Shaq’s comments with a shocking revelation. Hopping off the Clippers bandwagon, Sir Charles said,

“I have been on the Clippers bandwagon all year… never know which Clippers team is gonna show up… I do know one thing about the Mavs… Kyrie & Luka are gonna score on anybody.”

While both Barkley and Shaq are accurate in their assessment, the duo failed to gauge Kyrie Irving’s impact in the post-season. Irving has played over 74 playoff games, averaging 23.3 points, 4.8 assists, and 3.7 rebounds. He has put up these numbers while being the second option on most of his playoff squads. It’s also important to note that Doncic has never had a partner in crime like Irving, and this post-season, the Mavs will surely look like a different side.

Luka Doncic and the Clippers meet again

Barkley was right when he said, “Luka owns the Clippers”. In the previous two playoff meetings, Doncic averaged 33.5 points, 9.5 assists, and 8.8 rebounds, proving himself a handful on more than one occasion. He has dropped five separate 40+ point games against the Clippers during their playoff matchups, with many anticipating the 25-year-old to do the same this time. 

Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Klaw has also been electrifying against Dallas in the same setting since joining Los Angeles, averaging 32.5 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 4.8 assists. While Leonard and Paul have failed to guard Doncic throughout the previous series, maybe this time around, Westbrook or Harden can take a crack at guarding the shifty 25-year-old.

While Doncic and Irving would look to put up big numbers against the Clippers, it will be interesting to see how the new and improved Clippers respond. It is surely do-or-die time for the Clippers as Leonard and Paul may demand a trade, next year.

Post Edited By:Hitesh Nigam

About the author

Trikansh Kher

Trikansh Kher

Trikansh Kher is a writer at The Sports Rush. A lawyer by education, Trikansh has always been around sports. As a young track athlete Trikansh was introduced to basketball through 'street ball' mixtapes. He was hooked and it has been 'ball is life' ever since. Trikansh is a designer by profession, but couldn't keep away from basketball. A regular on the blacktop, his love for the game goes further than just hooping. If Trikansh isn't going through box scores for last night's game, you can find him in his studio working on his designs or playing squash at the local club.

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