Highlights: Mavs vs. Clippers

Check out all the top plays from Thursday night's 97-95 win over the Los Angeles Clippers.

Harrison Barnes hit what proved to be the game-winning shot in Thursday’s 97-95 win against the Clippers, but a defensive play he made more than a minute later turned out to be his biggest contribution of the night.

With eight seconds left on the clock and the Mavs in front 96-95, Blake Griffin took an inbound pass and faked a hand-off to Chris Paul. He then took it right to Barnes, working to back down the smaller defender and get to the basket. But Barnes wisely stood his ground on the play, tipped off by the Mavs’ coaching staff in the huddle that the sequence might happen.

As Griffin turned his shoulder, he revealed the ball for only an instant. Barnes immediately reached in and ripped it away, completing perhaps his most important defensive play as a Maverick.

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“We watched that play,” Barnes said. “They got a game-winner on that before, with Blake doing the fake hand-off. (The coaches) were yelling at me on the bench. I was just trying to move my feet, he spun, and I was just in the right spot at the right time.”

As important as the strip-steal turned out to be as it relates to the outcome of the game, it meant even more to Barnes. He was vindicated after a missed shot and turnover of his own just moments before.

The 24-year-old’s 14-foot fallaway put Dallas ahead 96-95 with 1:09 left in the fourth quarter. The Clippers turned it over at the other end 10 seconds later, and Barnes found himself with the ball again and a chance to put his Mavericks up three points. He missed.

Then Chris Paul had a chance to put his team ahead with 30 seconds left, but his shot didn’t hit anything. It just went out of bounds.

With 14 seconds left, Barnes caught the ball deep on the baseline, squared up and attacked to his right against Clippers defensive ace Luc Mbah a Moute, but when he tried to make a spin move to get to his left, Mbah a Moute poked the ball away.

At this point in the season Barnes is comfortable operating from the elbow, but his final offensive possession began from almost the corner, more than 20 feet from the rim. It’s the first late-game possession that comes to mind that began from that area of the floor.

“It wasn’t ideal, but at the same time it’s just about getting the ball in and making something happen,” Barnes told Mavs.com. “You can’t always have that perfect sweet-spot look, on the elbow and (the floor) spaced-out. You just have to get it where you live and make something happen.”

Rather than sulk about back-to-back blown opportunities to put his team ahead by three points and let that frustration spill over to the other end of the floor, Barnes collected himself in the huddle and made a game-winning defensive play.

“It’s an opportunity to redeem yourself any time you lose the ball like that, like I did,” Barnes told Mavs.com. “Coming back on the other end when you hear the play’s called for you, it’s like this is an opportunity to redeem yourself, or it’s an opportunity just to compound the mistake by turning it over and then getting the game-winning shot put on you.”

As it would turn out, though, Barnes didn’t allow a shot.

“Barnes hit the game-winning shot and then he made the defensive game-winning play, so he made huge plays,” Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle said. “Now, there were a couple times we went to him and he wasn’t able to score, but that’s what a big-time player does.”

At this point in the season with Dallas clinging to life in the playoff chase, three games back of eighth-place Denver with just 11 games to play, Barnes and the Mavericks will happily accept his late-game heroics, however they come.

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