Mavs Bending the Knee to King Kawhi, for Now

Luka is the goat-in-training, but Kawhi is still the best in the league. He’s been beating fully developed super teams for the better part of a decade now, and the Mavs are still a year or two away from that level. When he’s fully activated, it’s no contest.

32 points over 30 minutes, including a full 12 minutes in a 3rd quarter that started with a 24 point Clippers lead. Doc Rivers and his talisman meant business, and that means the end is nigh for the Mavs.

My temporary hatred for the Clippers is also coming to an end. This was like a primary election – a fierce but decisive battle to decide who will lead the way going forward to defeat greater evils like Lebron and houston.

That’s why I don’t care about this Marcus Morris brouhaha.

Luka didn’t get hurt. No harm; no foul. The NBA didn’t issue a suspension and seemingly didn’t investigate the Mavs two official complaints on both plays. That’s a good precedent for the Clippers going forward.

The first one was more psychological than dangerous. The second one could’ve actually caused serious harm, as we saw in 2017 when Pachulia did the same thing to Kawhi in game 1 of the WCF.

As we’ve seen in the past, only injuries can stop Kawhi from beating super teams. By getting all the dirty players on his teams instead of others, he neutralizes that threat. I like the strategy.

.

For the Mavs, this is the end of the line but we know the future is bright etc etc.

The biggest concern is KP being shut down for a torn meniscus in his right knee. This is the opposite side knee of the one that shut him down in NYC.

It’s especially frustrating because he was on fire and looking the best we’ve ever seen him. 34 points and 13 rebounds in game three. 52% from behind the arc this series, with several of those drained from deep range.

He didn’t have any major pain, just a little soreness. The MRI showed a meniscus tear and we shut him down for good because we’re not beating the Clippers anyway.

.

It’ll be something to watch going forward. He can play through these types of injuries in meaningful playoff games, but this year doesn’t qualify as that. We’ll have to load manage him out of 30-50% of regular season games and that’s fine too.

In the meantime, we’ll need to find a solid 2B to go alongside KP behind Luka. Cap space is opening up with David Lee’s $12.7M coming off the books. Tim Hardaway’s $20M deal enters ‘expiring contract’ status next season as well. We’ll see what we can do but I’m feeling fine about it.