Final: Mavs 118, Clippers 108
Box Score | Highlights
Behind the Box Score
The Clippers worked hard to get the ball into the post, especially in the first half, but the Mavericks took that option away by playing stifling defense. In 12 post-up possessions, L.A. walked away with just 8 points. The Mavs played excellent defense on the block, and more importantly did so without fouling.
The Mavs outscored the Clippers 31-24 in the third quarter, extending the lead to 14 at one point. Dallas scored 1.409 points per possession in the frame, a positively blistering rate. The club shot 68.4 percent in frame, thanks in large part to Dirk Nowitzki’s sizzling shooting.
DeAndre Jordan has a deserved reputation as a rim protector, but that didn’t stop the Mavs from putting the pressure on inside, especially as the fouls mounted for the big man. Dallas scored 1.55 points per possession when the ball entered the paint via drive or pass, well above the team’s average of 1.12 heading into the game. When the Mavs guards can get going downhill, and when the big men can finish around the basket, this is a very hard offense to stop. Hitting shots inside opens up shots on the outside. It’s like establishing a running game in football and then running some play action to throw it deep downfield.
The NBA season is very long, and you can’t get too high after highs or too low after lows. But suffice it to say this was a pretty special night.
Understandably, much of the attention in this game was paid to DeAndre Jordan after everything that happened this summer. The fans let him have it everything he touched the ball, even during pregame warmups. Jordan picked up his fourth foul midway through the third quarter, much to the Mavs fans’ joy. The Clippers tried getting him involved early, giving him two post-up chances early on. But Dirk Nowitzki locked him down in the post, forcing a miss both times. On another occasion, Jordan dribble-drove from the top of the key but was stripped by Devin Harris.
It’s so much fun to watch Dirk when he’s on fire. When his shot is falling, he’s not hitting rim, no matter where he’s shooting from or what type of position his body is in. The German even hit two threes right over Jordan’s outstretched hands. He was locked in from the opening tip tonight and it reflected in his final line: 31 points on 11-of-14 shooting.
Wesley Matthews played like he had something to prove in this game. He set a new season-high for points (25) and looked to be getting involved early on in the game. Dallas worked hard to get the ball into the post when Matthews or Deron Williams had a size advantage over their opponent, and Matthews greatly benefited from the strategy. The shooting guard even began the game by guarding Chris Paul before switching onto other players later in the game depending on matchups. It was good not only to see Matthews get some run on the second night of a back-to-back, but also to see him come out firing early and ready to go.
The Mavs (4-4) play the Los Angeles Lakers (1-7) Friday at American Airlines Center. Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m. Central.