Barnes delivers as Mavericks defeat Clippers
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[March 24, 2017]
DALLAS -- Mavericks forward
Harrison Barnes buried the go-ahead jumper and made big a steal with
3.9 seconds to go to give Dallas a 97-95 victory over the Los
Angeles Clippers on Thursday night at the American Airlines Center.
It was a critical loss for the Clippers, who saw their three-game
win streak end, but also saw their chances to take over the No. 4
seed in the Western Conference playoff chase diminished. Los Angeles
(43-30) returns home for a Saturday matinee against the fourth-place
Utah Jazz, who holds a 1 1/2-game lead over the Clippers.
Los Angeles had a chance to regain the lead in the final seconds,
but as Blake Griffin made his move in the paint, Barnes managed to
swipe the ball away.
"I have to give credit to our coaching staff," Barnes said of being
in position to make the steal. "They scouted that play well before
the game. We knew it was coming to Blake and he was going to try to
make a play. I just tried to play good defense and I was in the
right spot and the right time."
The Clippers were afforded one last chance to win with 0.9 seconds
to go, but guard J.J. Redick's leaning 3-point attempt just missed
off the iron.
"I thought (Redick) had a great look at it," point guard Chris Paul
said. "Hell of a play that (Clippers head coach) Doc (Rivers) drew
up. I was right there looking at it, and it looked good. It just
rimmed out, hit the side of the rim."
Barnes, whose only bucket in the fourth quarter turned out to be the
game-winner, backed down Clippers guard Austin Rivers before fading
away and draining the shot. He finished with 21 points, including 10
in the third quarter after a disappointingly cold-shooting game two
nights ago against his former team, the Golden State Warriors.
After Barnes' bucket, the Clippers missed out on two more
opportunities to go back ahead when guard Jamal Crawford had the
ball slip out of his hands, and point guard Chris Paul floated an
airball after making a crossover move to get open at the top of the
"I don't care about the (playoff) race, I care about how we play,"
Rivers said. "I really like this team, I've said it. We're back
finally as a whole. You can see we got our kinks out now that
everyone is back, but that part was frustrating tonight. We just
didn't get good shots overall down the stretch when we had gotten
them all game, and I thought we took too long in two or three sets."
Dallas (31-40) was led by guard Seth Curry, who scored 23 points,
while moving in the starting lineup from shooting guard to point
guard, a spot Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said he plans to keep Curry
at for a longer look. Curry hit 9-of-14 shots, including making
three 3-pointers. Center Nerlens Noel broke into the starting lineup
for just the second time since being acquired in a deadline trade.
He contributed eight points, 12 rebounds, three assists, two steals
and two blocks.
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Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) celebrates with forward
Harrison Barnes (40) during the second half against the LA Clippers
at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA
"It's a lineup that we need to look at. The numbers on them were
good; they were a pretty significant plus in the game, so that's a
good sign," Carlisle said. "We got to look at Curry at point with a
really conventional team out there. We got a look at Noel with Dirk
(Nowitzki) and Barnes. We got to see how things would shake out with
Barnes at three. This is the time to look at that stuff. We are
trying to win games, which is pretty obvious, and to do it in a
meaningful setting is something that's important."
Nowitzki finished with 14 points and center Nerlens Noel had eight
points, 12 rebounds, three assists, two blocks and two steals going
up against Clippers center DeAndre Jordan.
Jordan had a pretty nice night himself with 14 points, 18 rebounds
and two blocked shots. He recorded a double-double in the first
Griffin finished with a team-high 21 points, but was 9 for 23 from
the floor. Paul had 15 points, six assists, six rebounds and three
NOTES: Mavericks G J.J. Barea was ejected at the 5:29 mark of the
third quarter with a flagrant 2 foul following a shoving incident
with Clippers F Blake Griffin. Dallas led 63-58 at the time of the
ejection. Afterward referee Bill Spooner explained to a pool
reporter that contact initiated by Barea was deemed "unnecessary and
excessive." ... G Yogi Ferrell was bumped to the bench due to Noel
joining the lineup. ... Dallas F Dirk Nowitzki, who ranks first
among active players in games played, needs five to pass Reggie
Miller (1,389) for ninth place on the NBA's all-time list.
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