"It looked like it was going to go the same way again, but they
couldn't make the comeback all the way," Dallas guard Jose Calderon
said. "Today, I think everyone was thinking, 'Here we go again,' but
we did a little bit better."
Forward Dirk Nowitzki scored 26 points and pulled down 11 rebounds,
and the Mavericks held off the Clippers 113-107 at Staples Center.
The win put the Mavericks a half-game ahead of the idle Phoenix Suns
and Memphis Grizzlies into sole possession of the No. 7 spot in the
Western Conference playoff race. Dallas (45-31) also snapped the
Clippers' nine-game home winning streak.
"The seedings and playoff run have been nuts in the West for a long
time, but this is definitely another crazy year," said Nowitzki, who
hit 10 of 18 attempts from the floor and four of seven 3-point
attempts. "We didn't even play yesterday and we moved up from nine
to seven, so we were thinking we should just forfeit all of our
games and keep moving up."
Calderon scored 19 points, and forward Vince Carter came off the
bench to add 16 points, hitting four of Dallas' 14 3-pointers.
Center Samuel Dalembert and guard Monta Ellis chipped in 12 points
"We made a lot of mistakes at the end," said Calderon, who connected
on eight of 13 shots from the floor, including three of five from
behind the arc. "I'm happy for my teammates. I think everyone did a
great job. It's a great win for us."
Forward Blake Griffin had his first triple-double of the season with
25 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds for the Clippers, who saw
their four-game winning streak end. Guard Darren Collison scored 22
points, center DeAndre Jordan finished with 21 points and 15
rebounds, and point guard Chris Paul had 17 points and nine assists
for Los Angeles (54-23).
Griffin rolled his right ankle late in the contest.
"I'm not concerned, I don't think it was anything bad," Clippers
coach Doc Rivers said of Griffin's ankle. "I think he'll be fine. I
didn't ask anyone, and Blake looked OK in the locker room."
Dallas blew leads in the fourth quarter in each of its three
previous losses to Los Angeles, but it avoided a meltdown this time.
The Mavericks' win prevented the Clippers from earning their first
sweep of the season series since 1993-94.
"We just ran out of time tonight," Paul said.
The Mavericks carried an 86-81 lead into the fourth quarter before
the Clippers tied the score at 89 on two free throws by guard J.J.
Redick with 8:44 remaining. However, Nowitzki sparked a 10-0 run
with two 3-pointers for a 99-89 advantage with 6:36 left.
[to top of second column]
Dallas pushed the lead to 109-97 before Los Angeles rallied with a
10-0 spurt to slice the margin to two after a layup by Collison with
The Clippers, who were playing for the second night in a row after
clinching the Pacific Division title Wednesday night by beating the
Suns in Phoenix, failed to convert on consecutive possessions as
Redick and Collison both missed 3-point attempts. Two free throws by
Nowitzki with 17.9 seconds left sealed the win.
Redick returned after missing 25 games with a bulging disk in his
back. He came off the bench and finished with 12 points on 3-of-10
shooting in 24 minutes.
Dallas led 58-56 at the break behind Nowitzki's 16 points, 11 of
those coming in the second quarter. Griffin scored 19 points in the
NOTES: Injured Los Angeles G Jamal Crawford (sore left Achilles
tendon) and F Danny Granger (strained left hamstring) could miss the
rest of the regular season. "I'd be surprised if we saw either one
of them until the playoffs maybe," coach Doc Rivers said. ...
Clippers PG Chris Paul finished with one steal, snapping his streak
of eight games with at least three steals. Paul and Allen Iverson
(2007-08) were the only players to record streaks at least that long
since the start of the 2003-04 season. ... The Mavericks face the
Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night at Staples Center. They follow
that with visits to the Sacramento Kings on Sunday and the Utah Jazz
on Tuesday. ... The Clippers have four of their five remaining games
at home, starting Sunday against the Los Angeles Lakers. They also
host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday in a clash that could
determine the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference playoffs.
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