Rapid Reaction: Clippers 112, Mavericks 90
December, 6, 2012
By Jovan Buha / Special to ESPNDallas.com
How it happened: Chris Paul, Chris Paul and some more Chris Paul.
The point guard, who Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle dubbed "probably the best in the game" in his pregame interview, had 14 points, 13 assists and five steals. He exerted his will from start to finish and harassed the Mavs' backcourt all night.
But Paul had a lot of help, too.
Blake Griffin, fresh off a 30-point, 11-rebound performance in Utah, chipped in with 19 points and 13 rebounds. Jamal Crawford added 20 points off the bench, including a four-point play off an O.J. Mayo foul.
Speaking of Mayo, the Mavericks' leading scorer came back down to earth Wednesday, scoring only 11 points on 4-for-12 shooting. The Clippers paid specific attention to him any time he touched the ball, which resulted in seven assists, tying his season-high.
With Mayo struggling, the Mavs looked elsewhere for offensive production and found it in Vince Carter (16 points off the bench), Derek Fisher (15 points), Chris Kaman (14 points) and Shawn Marion (14 points).
In a perturbing road trend, the Mavericks turned the ball over 22 times, resulting in 26 points off of turnovers for the Clippers. Even worse, 18 of those turnovers came off Clipper steals, a clear sign that the Mavericks were not making smart decisions offensively.
The Clippers took control in the second quarter, when they outscored the Mavericks 29-15 over the final 8:14 and turned the contest into a blowout. L.A. also outrebounded the Mavs 49-41 and held Dallas to just 40.5 percent shooting from the field.
What it means: The Mavericks, who have lost five of their last seven games, drop to 8-10 on the season and a disappointing 2-7 on the road. What's worse is that five of those seven road losses have been by double-digits. They will look to bounce back in Phoenix on Thursday.
Play of the game: Crawford's four-point play with 3:15 remaining in the second quarter. The basket, which was preceded by consecutive 3-pointers by Caron Butler and Crawford, gave the Clippers an 18-point lead and established permanent control. Crawford is the all-time leader in four-point plays with 34 throughout his 13-year career.
Stat of the night: "Paint points," as Carlisle referred to them prior to tipoff. The Clippers outscored the Mavericks 62-30 in the paint and it wasn't even that close. Wednesday's loss showed the limitations of the Mavericks' front line against more athletic opposition.