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You would think that the Los Angeles Clippers are feeling some pressure as they prepare to face the Dallas Mavericks in Game 6 of their first-round playoff series. The Mavericks are up 3-2 in the series, meaning the Clippers' season is over if they lose Friday night. Many people would call it a high-pressure situation for L.A. as they try to extend their season with hopes of forcing a Game 7 and trying to advance to the next round of the postseason.

But Clippers guard James Harden sees it differently. Ahead of Friday night's showdown, the former league MVP told reporters that all the pressure is actually on the Mavericks for Game 6. 

"The pressure's on them to win the game," Harden said at shootaround. "For us, it's about making sure we execute on both ends."

The Mavericks do have some pressure to close out this series and avoid a Game 7 on the road on Sunday, but to say the Clippers don't have any pressure on them would be wrong too. If you lose, then the season's over. That's pressure in itself. For Harden, there's pressure to perform better than he did in Game 5, where he finished with just seven points on 2-of-12 shooting from the floor with four turnovers. He racked up seven assists, but when the Clippers are without Kawhi Leonard, he needs to look to score, not facilitate. 

Harden should also feel some pressure as he's approaching unrestricted free agency this summer. Surely the Clippers would want to re-sign him, but the dollar amount he signs for may be lower based on how this series ends. There's also pressure on Paul George who also laid an egg in Game 5 (15 points, 4-13 FG). George is also an unrestricted free agent, and while there was initial thought that the Clippers would've offered him an extension by now, it seems like the two sides may not be seeing eye to eye on how much he's worth. This high-pressure situation would be the perfect time for him to show the front office that he's worth another max deal. 

While the Clippers were always going to face somewhat of an uphill battle without Leonard in the mix, there were still expectations of this team. And we've already seen them blowout the Mavericks in one win, and then stave off a comeback after leading by 30+ points to win another game, both without Leonard. So even if Harden doesn't think there's pressure and "it's just a game," there are some stakes involved in regards to his and George's future with the Clippers beyond this season. And that's pressure enough.