Courtesy of a 45-point performance by Kawhi Leonard, tying his playoff career high, there will be a Game 7 in the first-round series between the LA Clippers and Dallas Mavericks.
It is the first Game 7 of the 2021 postseason and the 140th in NBA history with the higher holding a record of 108-31 (77.7%) in the previous 139.
If the Mavericks win, the trend of the road team winning each game in the series continues, and the Dallas franchise will record their first playoff series victory since 2011.
For the first time in NBA history, the first 6 games of a playoff series have been won by the road team. pic.twitter.com/SsI7kNkIQV- StatMuse (@statmuse) June 5, 2021
On the other hand, if the Clippers persevere, it'll be their second consecutive Conference Semifinals appearance and fifth in their nine postseason trips since 2012. Moreover, it would only be the 28th time (out of 403 scenarios) in NBA history that a team wins a series despite trailing 2-0.
That said, let's take a quick look at how both franchises have fared in Game 7s in the past.
- This is the ninth Game 7 in franchise history including their 14 years as the Buffalo Braves and the San Diego Clippers. In the previous eight, they have a record of 3-5.
- Their most recent winner-take-all contest was last year against the Denver Nuggets in the Conference Semifinals, which they lost after giving up a 12-point lead to eventually lose 104-89.
- Twice in Clippers franchise history, they have lost Game 7 while being on the wrong side of a 3-1 series comeback (2015 vs. Houston; 2020 vs. Denver).
- For the LA's big All-NBA caliber in Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, this is their sixth (2-3 record in previous five) and fifth (1-3 record in previous four) career Game 7 respectively.
- This is the fourth Game 7 of Tyronn Lue's coaching career, having gone an unbeaten 3-0 in the previous instances.
- This is the seven Game 7 in franchise history, holding a 4-2 in the six previous instances.
- Their most recent winner-take-all contest was back in 2014 when they lost to the eventual NBA Champion in the San Antonio Spurs in the first round.
- This is the fourth Game 7 of Rick Carlisle's 19-year coaching career, holding a 2-1 record in the previous three instances.
- For much of the key players on the roster - Luka Doncic, Kristaps Porzingis, Dorian Finney-Smith and Tim Hardaway Jr. - this is the first Game 7 of their playoff career.
What to expect?
Barring a 25-blowout in Game 4, the remaining five games have all been decided by 10 points or fewer with an average winning margin of just 7.6 points. How will Game 7 pan out?
According to FiveThirtyEight's NBA Predictions model, the Mavericks are 76% favourites to win Game 7. Both teams will take the floor for the one win-or-go-home game on Sunday, June 6 at 3:30 p.m. ET.
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