LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA - AUGUST 21: Kristaps Porzingis #6 and Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks leave the court after the first half of Game Three of the first round of the playoffs at the AdventHealth Arena at the ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on August 21, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.
(Photo by Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images)

The Dallas Mavericks will be without Kristaps Porzingis for a second-straight game in their series against the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Dallas Mavericks are coming off the biggest win for the franchise since they won a title in 2011, but the health of Kristaps Porzingis is casting a shadow over this current success. After missing Game 4 with right knee soreness, the Mavs will be without Porzingis again in Game 5.

Porzingis, 25, is averaging 23.7 points and 8.7 rebounds per game on .525/.529/.870 shooting splits in his three games this series. Add in the fact that he was given an early hook by the referees in Game 1 and those numbers look even more impressive.

Dallas can beat the Los Angeles Clippers without Porzingis, but it took a monumental effort from Luka Doncic for that to happen in Game 4. His 43 points, 17 rebounds, and 13 assists were punctuated with a game-winning, step-back three at the buzzer to win. It’s an all-time playoff moment.

The concern here is whether or not Doncic can pull the rabbit out of his hat without Porzingis again. The role players for Dallas like Tim Hardaway Jr., Trey Burke, Seth Curry, and Dorian Finney-Smith are providing major contributions, but the Mavs are a much worse team without Porzingis.

His ability to shoot the three and his gravity as a roller opens up the floor for Doncic to operate. Sure, the Wonder Boy could do whatever he wanted against the Clippers defense in Game 4, but you have to expect adjustments and a healthy dose of Kawhi Leonard on Doncic on Tuesday night. Then again, the 21-year-old appears to be having his moment in the sun. He’s bridging the gap from rising star to bonafide superstar.

It will certainly be a lot easier for the Mavs to upset the Clippers with a healthy Porzingis in the lineup, but the best may still be yet to come from Doncic in this series.

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