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Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Tyson Chandler: 21, but what if...

By Jeff Caplan

DALLAS -- Tyson Chandler stood at his locker shaking his head.

"Man, I know," Chandler said. "If I could have just stayed on the floor I could have had a huge night."

Tuesday night against the Los Angeles Clippers was pretty big as it was for the Dallas Mavericks' 7-foot-1 center, who slammed, quite literally, 21 points on the Clips in 17 minutes. He didn't miss a shot, making all five field goals -- four dunks (two alley-oops) and a finger roll -- and all 11 free throws.

If he had come anywhere close to his 27.8-minute-a-game average, he likely could have shattered his career high of 27 points way back on New Year's Eve 2002.

It was Chandler's first 20-point game with the Mavs and his first since 2008. The athletic big man was no match for Clippers center and Texas A&M one-year-wonder DeAndre Jordan. In the first quarter, Chandler had 10 points, which were among the team's first 14. While the rest of the Mavs got off to another sluggish start, Chandler was bringing the energy that allowed Dallas to trail by just eight at the end one.

After L.A. scored the first bucket of the third quarter, Chandler scored seven of the Mavs' first nine points on a dunk, a finger roll and a monstrous alley-oop from DeShawn Stevenson for an and-1. But, with 7:19 left in the period, Chandler, who picked up three first-half fouls, got Blake Griffin for his fourth.

Backup Brendan Haywoodwas having so much success on the defensive end against Griffin, and the Mavs' offense finally opened up that coach Rick Carlisle stuck with Haywood. Chandler's night was over after just 17 minutes off the floor time. But, what a thrilling 17 it was.

"It’s definitely frustrating because you want to be on the floor when you’re rolling like that," Chandler said. "I thought I picked up some ticky-tack fouls, but sometimes it goes that way."