DALLAS -- How it happened: With Jason Kidd continuing the string of injuries and sitting this one out (as well as the rest of the week) with a groin strain, the Dallas Mavericks' offense never showed up against the team right in front of them in the standings.
Or maybe put this one on Lamar Odom's absence due to illness: Dallas is now 0-7 without the "Khloe & Lamar" co-star.
Nah, pin this loss to the Los Angeles Clippers all day, thanks to poor execution and no life in a game that should have commanded both in heavy doses from the Mavs. They were sloppy from the opening tip, shot 35 percent in the first half, had just six assists on 14 baskets, gave up 14 points on nine turnovers and were outscored 10-0 on second-chance points. The Mavs' 33 points marked the second-lowest first-half total of the season, surpassed only by the 29 points they scored in that 93-71 blowout loss early on at San Antonio. Yet, they were fortunate to trail by just 14.
Dallas fell behind by as many as 16 with only Dirk Nowitzki scoring more than five points in the first 24 minutes. He had 12. Meanwhile, the Clippers shot 52.5 percent, but they had eight turnovers to keep the score within reason.
Things only got worse in the third quarter. Dallas didn't score its first field goal until nearly four minutes had passed. A few minutes later Randy Foye drilled one of his career-high and Clippers record-tying eight 3-pointers for a 62-41 lead with 5:06 to go.
Foye was smoking hot and it might have helped if the Mavs had decided to put a hand in his face. With the Mavs making something of a run, trimming a 22-point deficit to 76-62, Foye splashed a 3 as Delonte West turned to the Mavs' bench in disbelief. Foye finished with a game-high 28 points on 10-of-19 shooting, including 8-of-15 from deep. He made almost twice as many 3s as Dallas on eight fewer attempts.
Nowitzki finished with 19 points and Jason Terry was the only other Mavs player in double digits, with 15. Those two were 13-of-27 while the rest of the team stunk it up to the tune of 17-of-50.
The numbers across the board were hideous: 39.0 percent (30-of-77) from the floor, 21.7 percent (5-of-23) from 3-point range and 58.8 percent (10-of-17) from the free-throw line.
Dallas was outrebounded 49-38 and outscored 14-8 on second-chance points, but 10-0 in the first half.
By the end of the game, Clippers guard Eric Bledsoe was hot-dogging on the Mavs' home floor. Not a good night.
What it means: Forget about starting a winning streak on this important three-game homestand and forget about picking up a game on the Clippers for the No. 4 seed for home-court advantage in the first round. The loss drops Dallas (30-24) 2½ games behind L.A. and three games back in the loss column. Also forget about gaining a game on the Memphis Grizzlies, who started a back-to-back-to-back with a big win at Oklahoma City to jump the Mavs and move into the fifth seed while Dallas falls into sixth. The Grizz are in Dallas on Wednesday.
Bold play of the game:With the first half ticking down, Clippers point guard Chris Paul dribbled and dribbled and dribbled to the point that he seemingly frustrated his own teammates. First Kenyon Martin shook his head wanting the ball, and then Butler as he sprang free on the wing. But Paul just kept dribbling and then, boom, swished an elbow jumper with 10 seconds left on the clock and the Clips thought they had a 49-33 lead. But at the half, the refs reviewed Martin's jumper with 4:24 left that was ruled on the court to have beaten the shot clock. Upon review, it was taken off the board and L.A. settled for a 47-33 halftime lead. It was big enough.
Stat of the game: The Clippers reached two significant milestones. They won their sixth game in a row, their longest streak since a six-gamer in March 1992, and they also snapped a 10-game road losing skid in Dallas dating back to 2006.