Final: Clippers 109, Mavs 90
Box Score | Highlights
Behind the Box Score
Dirk Nowitzki had three and-1s in this game. That might not seem very strange, but he’d only had 10 all season long before tonight’s game, according to Basketball-Reference. Two came on fallaway jumpers and another came on a turnaround hook shot in the post. He was feeling it
One thing to keep an eye on moving forward for the Mavs is the frequency with which they play a 2-3 zone defense. Dallas didn’t play much of it last season and even earlier in this campaign, but Rick Carlisle has turned to it more and more in 2016, particularly when the Mavericks play a small lineup with either Dirk Nowitzki or David Lee at center. Dallas plays a higher volume of zone defense (6.3 percent of the time, according to Synergy Sports) than any other team in the league and it’s not even close, with Phoenix in second place at 1.8 percent of its possessions. But when the Mavs play small and therefore have difficult matchups at potentially a few different positions, it makes much more sense for the club to turn to that strategy defensively, particularly when the opponent doesn’t have a lineup full of guys who can knock down the three-pointer, a shot the 2-3 zone tends to concede.
The Mavs had no qualms with intentionally fouling DeAndre Jordan in the first half, sending him to the foul line 13 times in the first two quarters alone. The Clippers center hit six of those attempts, badly missing a few, after which the crowd roared. The environment wasn’t quite as hostile this time around as it was when L.A. came to town on Nov. 11, but the AAC faithful still had plenty of emotion to let out toward the club, especially toward its starting center. There’s no doubt Jordan is an excellent player, but his performance at the line is what makes him human, and the Mavs fans didn’t fail to let him have it.
The Mavericks played last night in Denver while the Clippers had the day off in Dallas, waiting for the team to come back home for tonight’s meeting. Dallas hung tight with the Clippers through most of three quarters, and then it appeared the rest advantage began paying off. Chris Paul exploded toward the end of the third frame and the rest of the Clippers soon followed suit, launching a 22-3 run bridging the third and fourth which gave L.A. significant separation. Unfortunately the Mavericks couldn’t keep up, as they never really found a rhythm from beyond the arc and couldn’t generate enough turnovers or defensive stops to push the ball in transition the other way. The Mavs’ offensive numbers are much better this season off a stop of some sort than off a make, so any time an opponent can string together a hot run the likes of which we saw from the Clippers tonight, that makes things all the more difficult for the Mavericks.
The Mavs (33-31) play the Detroit Pistons (32-31) Wednesday at American Airlines Center. Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m. Central.