Game 73: Mavs vs. Clippers

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Dirk Nowitzki Interview

Dirk Nowitzki talks about his love for the Mavericks and his desire to make the playoffs.

DALLAS — Needing to continue collecting wins in order to keep pace in the Western Conference playoff race, the Dallas Mavericks returned to action at American Airlines Center ready for another formidable foe.

Looking to build on Tuesday’s 128-119 overtime win over Oklahoma City, the Mavericks tried to keep trending upward with the Los Angeles Clippers in town for the sixth matchup of an eight-game homestand. The Mavs also tried to avenge two previous losses this season at the hands of the Clippers, welcoming in the L.A. team on the second night of a back-to-back following a 98-96 loss in New Orleans on Wednesday.

But, like the first two meetings between the two teams, the Mavericks (43-30) would succumb to a late L.A. run, falling to a 109-103 defeat to slide to 3-3 on their current homestand.

“We’ve got to obviously give them credit,” 12-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki said of the loss. “Every time down the stretch they’re finishing and we’re not. They’re getting stops and they’re getting big baskets on the other side. For some reason we felt like we should have had all three of them and got none of them, so we’re very disappointed. And all these three losses in this homestand have been heartbreakers, so it’s tough. But we’ve got to swallow it and try to be better.”

After going 0 of 12 in the Clippers’ loss at New Orleans, point guard Chris Paul would quickly make amends for his cold-shooting night with an aggressive start. Meanwhile, Nowitzki picked back up where he left off at Tuesday night when he led seven Mavericks in double figures with 32 points.

The Mavs then benefitted from a second foul of the night on Clippers big man Blake Griffin with 6:32 left in the opening quarter. And with center Samuel Dalembert playing through a stiff back to total four points and eight rebounds in the period, the Mavs found themselves tied with the Clippers (51-22) at 29-all after the first 12 minutes of play.

Getting assistance from second-year standout Jae Crowder, Nowitzki flipped the switch from scorer to facilitator early in the second stanza. The rest of the Mavs’ reserves also came alive, boosting the home team to a double-digit lead in the process.

But the Clippers would quickly charge back behind their high-flying aerial display and a 10-0 run to inch within two. And with Griffin and Clippers center DeAndre Jordan taking flight, the Mavericks needed every bit of sixth man Vince Carter’s offense off the bench to take a 60-58 edge into the halftime break.

Led by 27 combined points from Nowitzki and Carter on 10-of-13 shooting, the Mavs held the slight advantage while outshooting the Clippers, 52.2 percent to 51.2 percent. The Mavs also capitalized on 11 L.A. turnovers through two quarters, scoring 13 points off the giveaways in addition to a 23-17 rebounding margin.

Following back-to-back scores by Jordan coming out of the visitors’ locker room, the Clippers would quickly regain the lead early in the third. Things then began to get physical as a skirmish between both squads led to technical foul calls on Paul, Clippers swingman Matt Barnes and Mavs forward Shawn Marion.

Another technical was later handed out to Mavericks 2-guard Monta Ellis for arguing an offensive foul call. However, led by the calming veteran presence of Nowitzki and Carter, the Mavericks would begin to settle down. And with a fifth tech handed out in the period on Griffin, the two teams battled to an 81-all stalemate after three quarters of play.

“It’s playoffs getting closer and closer, so stuff is going to happen. We just tried to play through it and not get caught in it,” Nowitzki said as the intensity picked up. “We just tried to play through it and keep coming, but they finished and we didn’t.”

In need of a spark early in the fourth, the Mavs would get it as Crowder received the friendly bounce on a 3-pointer to put his team up 87-81 with 10:21 remaining on the game clock. Backup big man Brandan Wright lent some helping hands, scoring in the lane before putting the Mavs up 10 on a 2-for-2 trip to the foul line.

But again the Mavericks would have to re-collect themselves after a technical was assessed to Crowder for arguing a foul call with 8:56 left. Paul’s score then made it just a 93-90 score, forcing a timeout by Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle with 6:32 remaining to hold on.

After Mavs point guard Jose Calderon and Clippers sixth man Jamal Crawford exchanged 3-point bombs, the two teams remained slightly separated. The Dallas defense then stiffened as Ellis’ perimeter pressure gave the Clippers fits.

Ellis also tried to close the Clippers out on the offensive end, switching a floater in the lane to put the Mavericks up 101-97 with 1:46 left. But L.A. came right back with four straight points to tie the game while the Mavs grew stagnant on offense down the stretch. Nowitzki’s turnover on an errand pass then sent the ball back over to the Clippers with 38.9 ticks on the clock, leading to a score by Griffin to put the visitors up a deuce. And after a misfire by Ellis on the offensive end, Paul converted a foul by Nowitzki into two free throws with 12.6 seconds left to force Carlisle into his last timeout.

“We were trying to find a hot hand at the end and it was just a struggle,” Carlisle said. “It was a struggle to get the ball into the basket. Monta had it a couple of times, Dirk had it a couple of times, Vince had it once, Jose had it once and we had some uncharacteristically off shots. A couple of them were just unusually bad misses, but at the end of NBA games it’s going to be harder to get good shots if you’re not stopping the other team. When it came down to it, we just didn’t get enough stops.”

The Mavs refused to go away quietly, however, after getting two foul shots of their own from Ellis’ attack with 8.5 seconds remaining. Still, after clutch strokes at the charity stripe by Crawford and Paul padded the L.A. lead, the Mavs would run out of steam before falling to defeat.

“We know they’re physical and how they play, so that wasn’t a surprise. We were prepared for it,” Carter said. “We just had to try get over the hump. I think we gave ourselves a chance. We let a nice lead slip away late in the game, and once they got going of course we had to foul. They hit their free throws and the rest was history.”

Leading four Dallas scorers in double figures during a losing effort and tying his season high, Carter finished with 23 points off the bench on 9-of-13 shooting. Nowitzki added 21 points and nine rebounds in the first unit. Meanwhile, Crowder added 13 points in a reserve role on a perfect 5-for-5 shooting and Ellis finished with 12 points to go along with seven assists.

“We just couldn’t close,” Nowitzki confessed. “I think we had some shots … but they’re long and they made us miss, so they did their job.”

Paul led six Clippers in double figures with 31 points on 9-of-18 shooting, dishing out nine assists to boot. However, the Mavs finished with a 43-41 rebounding edge. And despite scoring 26 points off L.A.’s 20 turnovers and slightly outshooting the Clippers, 46.8 percent to 46.3 percent, the Mavs couldn’t capture a win on their home floor while surrendering 24 points off their own 18 giveaways.

“We wanted to give ourselves an opportunity to win, but they hit some big shots,” Carter concluded. “It’s plain and simple. We met some miscues or whatever, but just haven’t quite gotten over the hump. It’s tough and it’s very frustrating, but we fought like (heck) to give ourselves a chance to win in the end and that’s all you can ask for.”

“We have to shake it off,” Carlisle added while turning his attention to the next game. “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.”

Note: The Mavericks return to action at American Airlines Center on Saturday, hosting the Sacramento Kings. The season series is tied at 1-1. The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest at 7:30 p.m. CT. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling (214) 747-MAVS (6287) or by visiting



All Stats

M. Barnes, F 37 4-12 1-5 3-4 1 2 3 4 3 1 2 3 22 12
B. Griffin, F 40 8-14 0-0 2-3 4 9 13 4 0 2 4 5 15 18
D. Jordan, C 37 7-9 0-0 2-2 7 8 15 0 1 0 3 3 17 16
D. Collison, G 24 4-9 3-4 0-0 0 1 1 2 0 0 2 3 -9 11
C. Paul, G 39 9-18 4-8 9-10 0 4 4 9 3 0 2 3 18 31
G. Davis 7 1-3 0-0 0-0 1 1 2 0 0 0 1 0 -9 2
J. Crawford 28 3-12 2-7 6-6 0 2 2 2 2 0 3 3 5 14
J. Dudley 10 1-2 1-1 0-0 0 0 0 1 1 0 2 2 -11 3
D. Granger 10 1-3 0-1 0-0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 2 -16 2
W. Green 2 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 -2 0
R. Bullock 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
R. Hollins 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
J. Redick 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
H. Turkoglu 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
TEAM   38-82 11-26 22-25 13 28 41 22 10 3 19 24   109
    46.3% 42.3%                      

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All Stats

S. Marion, F 25 2-8 0-1 0-0 1 2 3 2 3 0 0 1 -21 4
D. Nowitzki, F 35 7-15 1-4 6-10 1 8 9 3 0 0 3 2 -2 21
S. Dalembert, C 22 3-5 0-0 0-0 5 6 11 1 0 1 1 3 -13 6
M. Ellis, G 35 4-19 0-2 4-4 1 4 5 7 2 0 3 3 -10 12
J. Calderon, G 29 3-6 3-4 0-0 1 4 5 3 1 0 2 0 -17 9
V. Carter 28 9-13 4-5 1-2 1 0 1 1 0 1 3 4 5 23
D. Blair 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 -7 0
D. Harris 19 1-5 1-3 4-5 0 1 1 3 3 0 4 1 4 7
J. Crowder 18 5-5 1-1 2-2 0 4 4 0 2 0 0 3 17 13
B. Wright 24 3-3 0-0 2-4 1 3 4 0 1 2 1 3 14 8
W. Ellington 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
B. James 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
S. Larkin 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
R. Ledo 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
G. Mekel 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
TEAM   37-79 10-20 19-27 11 32 43 21 12 4 17 21   103
    46.8% 50.0%                      

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Clippers vs. Mavericks

The Mavericks were firing on all cylinders Thursday night but couldn't quite close out the Clippers.


Up and Down

Brandan Wright gets the ball and goes over the defender for the huge slam.


Shootaround: Vince Carter

Mavs G-F Vince Carter weighs in on Thursday's matchup against the Clippers, the importance of rebounding and protecting ball and more.


Shootaround: Rick Carlisle

Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle talks about Samuel Dalembert's play of late, the keys to victory against the Clippers Thursday and more.


Practice Report: Shawn Marion

Mavs F Shawn Marion comments on matching up against the Clippers, the strength of their frontcourt, how he's feeling with the last few overtime games and more.

DALLAS — After watching All-Star point guard Chris Paul struggle through the worst shooting performance of his career, the Dallas Mavericks fully expect to see the cat-quick floor general come out aggressively Thursday night.

Catching the Los Angeles Clippers 24 hours after Paul’s 0-of-12 shooting night during a 98-96 loss in New Orleans on Wednesday, the Mavericks (43-29) fully expect to get see the perennial All-Star come out clicking on all cylinders. Still, the Mavs will try to keep Paul and the Clippers (50-22) from sprinting to a win on the American Airlines Center hardwood.

“That’s never a good thing,” Mavs sixth man Vince Carter joked as Paul comes to town looking to shake off his struggles from the night before. “I mean, he’s one of the best. … When you have an All-Star like that, that goes through that situation, you know what’s coming. He’s still going to be very aggressive. He’s still going to make plays for his team. He’s got so many talented guys who can put the ball in the basket, but we know he’s coming in focused and going to knock down shots and be aggressive early. For us, hopefully he has a slow start … and we go from there.”

Despite his abysmal shooting night, Paul still managed to dish out 12 assists as the Clippers fell for just the second time in 15 games. Now, the Dallas defense will try to keep Paul from leading the Clippers’ high-octane attack, looking to use Tuesday’s 128-119 overtime win over Oklahoma City as a blueprint.

And after surrendering 23 points on 20 turnovers against the Thunder, the Mavs will try not to play into the Clippers’ hands while attempting to avenge two previous losses earlier in the season.

“It’s really a lot of the same challenges,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said while drawing from the win over Oklahoma City. “This is a great executing team, but where they really thrive is if you turn the ball over and they get in transition. That’s when the lobs start happening and the chin-ups on the rim and all that, and they get really geeked up. And so we’ve got to stay out of those situations, but we’ve got to be aggressive and we’ve got to make sure that space is there before we attack. Otherwise, these guys are real active and they produce turnovers, so ball security is big.”

Note: The Mavericks return to action at American Airlines Center on Thursday, hosting the Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers lead season series 2-0. The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest at 7:30 p.m. CT. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling (214) 747-MAVS (6287) or by visiting

DALLAS — Despite being pushed into overtime for a third time in four games, the Dallas Mavericks wouldn’t be denied a signature win on their home floor Tuesday against Western Conference powerhouse Oklahoma City.

Led by an all-around performance from 12-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki, the Mavericks (43-29) outlasted the Thunder en route to a 128-119 overtime victory. And with Nowitzki filling up the stat sheet by scoring 32 points, grabbing 10 rebounds, dishing out six assists and collecting four steals, the Mavs improved to 3-2 on their current eight-game homestand.

“He played great and he carried us,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said while summing up Nowitzki’s effort. “His emotion and his attitude carried the team.”

“That was a heck of a game and fun to be a part of,” Nowitzki added. “It was a great win, especially after we just lost two overtime games. It was a great win against a great team, so that was awesome.”

Just 48 hours later, however, the Mavs will try to take down another Western power, looking to avenge two losses earlier in the season to the high-octane Los Angeles Clippers. And with the Clippers (50-22) entering American Airlines Center on the second night of a back-to-back following a 98-96 loss in New Orleans on Wednesday, the Mavs hope to take advantage of the L.A. team’s tired legs while currently tied with Phoenix for the eighth and final playoff seed in the West.

Outscored by the Clippers 16-2 over the final 3:51 in a 119-112 home loss back on Jan. 3 before also having a 17-point lead erased over the final 4 1/2 minutes of a 129-127 road defeat on Jan. 15, the Mavericks know they’ll have to compete for a full four quarters Thursday night. Meanwhile, the Clippers had won 13 of 14 outings before falling Wednesday night. And with the Clippers now 0-11 when shooting below 42 percent after connecting on just 41.3 percent in New Orleans, the Dallas defense will try to hound the likes of All-Star point guard Chris Paul and big man Blake Griffin for the better part of 48 minutes.

“The last two games against them have been pretty physical and a lot of testosterone going out there,” forward Shawn Marion said. “They’re very competitive and it’s been some heated scuffles out there, but we know what it’s going to be. It feel like it’s a little animosity in the air with us, but it’s been some close games and both of them went down to the wire. So, at this point, we know what’s at stake here and they’re coming in here on a back-to-back. Hopefully, we can go out here and take care of business on Thursday.”

Note: The Mavericks return to action at American Airlines Center on Thursday, hosting the Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers lead season series 2-0. The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest at 7:30 p.m. CT. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling (214) 747-MAVS (6287) or by visiting