Dallas led 101-97 with 1:46 to go, but was outscored 8-0, capped
by two Paul free throws with 12.6 seconds left to trail by four. It
is the third consecutive painful defeat to Los Angeles for Dallas
this season. In mid-January in Los Angeles, the Mavericks blew a
17-point lead with less than five minutes left, and the Clippers won
two weeks earlier in Dallas after Paul left the game with a
separated right shoulder that would sideline him for the next six
Paul, who was 0-for-12 from the floor in a loss at New Orleans on
Wednesday, said he was thinking about the night when he got to the
"We need to start playing like that more often to tell you the
truth," Paul said. "We knew it was going to be a playoff-type game
going into the game. We saw that Oklahoma City game (a loss at
Dallas) the other night and they're not just fighting for their
playoff lives, we're trying to get up for the playoffs, too."
This loss could ultimately cost Dallas (43-30) a playoff berth with
nine games left in the regular season as the Mavs are currently out
of the playoff picture, one-half game behind the Phoenix Suns and a
full game behind the Memphis Grizzlies.
"We have to shake it off," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. "I didn't
do an analysis just now but I think our guys are disappointed. They
fought hard. We made mistakes and mistakes are very costly. Eighteen
turnovers in a game like this for 24 points is too many, so
decision-making has got to be better. It's basically the next game
becomes the most important game of the year, that's just how it is
going to be, every one down the stretch."
It was also Dallas' third heartbreak loss with two games left on
this eight-game homestand. Against the Clippers, they wasted a
vintage, 23-point performance from guard Vince Carter. Forward Dirk
Nowitzki, who scored 32 points in Tuesday's big win over Oklahoma
City, finished with 21 points, but had a disastrous fourth quarter.
He missed his final six shot attempts and two of three free throws
after being fouled behind the arc with 3:05 to go. Guard Monta
Ellis, who hit a fade-away in the lane to give Dallas the 101-97
lead, was just 4-for-19 from the floor for 12 points. In final 90
seconds, Dallas launched rushed, ill-advised shots that essentially
cost them a victory.
"We just didn't get good looks," said Mavs guard Devin Harris, who
had seven points on 1-for-5 shooting. "We took some tough shots with
a minute, minute-and-a-half to go. We couldn't get anything to fall
and defensively we had some lapses where we gave up some layups and
some easy baskets. We've got to do a better job of executing."
The Clippers (51-22), who are fighting for the No. 3 seed with the
Houston Rockets, got nine points from Paul in the final quarter.
Forward Blake Griffin finished with 18 points, 13 rebounds, four
assists and two blocks. He had consecutive layups that first tied at
101 and then gave the Clippers the lead out of a timeout, 103-101
with 33.9 seconds to go.
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Center DeAndre Jordan produced 16 points and 15 rebounds and Jamal
Crawford gave Los Angeles 14 points off the bench despite a
"I told them before the game it's going to be an emotional game,"
Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. "It's going to be a playoff game,
because Dallas, they're fighting. I told them if you don't meet
their energy you're not going to win because they're fighting for
their lives right now. You've got to act like it's a playoff game."
The Mavericks led by 12 points in the second quarter behind a 19-4
run, but that advantage quickly evaporated to 60-58 at halftime. The
game turned chippy in the third quarter and the Clippers rode the
emotion to a 77-70 lead. But Dallas roared back with a 21-4 run and
led 91-81 with 9:19 to go.
NOTES: Mavericks C Sam Dalembert missed the morning shootaround with
a stiff back. Listed as a game-time decision, he was in Dallas
starting lineup. ... Entering Thursday's game, Clippers F Blake
Griffin had scored 20 points or more in a career-best 30 consecutive
games. It is the second-longest streak in the NBA this season behind
Kevin Durant's 44 in a row. The streak was broken, however, as
Griffin finished with 18 points Thursday. ... Clippers G J.J. Redick
(bulging disc lower back) hopes to return with at least three or
four games left in the regular season. He's been limited to just 30
games this season while also missing time earlier in the season with
a fractured hand. ... Dallas played the sixth of a franchise-long
eight-game homestand. Three of the previous five games went to
overtime with the Mavericks going 1-2 in those games. ... Mavericks
F Shawn Marion entered the game needing five steals to pass Magic
Johnson (1,724) for 17th place on the all-time list.
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