Thursday, January 19, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Clippers 91, Mavs 89
By Jeff Caplan
LOS ANGELES -- How it happened: The Los Angeles Clippers' backcourt is going to do a lot of damage this season, but the Dallas Mavericks weren't prepared for whom would inflict it and how devastating it would be Wednesday night.
With Chris Paul missing his third consecutive game with a hamstring injury, Mo Williams, fresh off his own injury issue, and old Mavs nemesis Chauncey Billups combined to hit seven 3-pointers and score 47 points. Billups, who has tormented the Mavs before while in a Denver uniform, delivered the final blow, a 3-pointer with one second left on the clock. It came just four seconds after Jason Terry knocked down his second 3-pointer in the final 36.7 seconds to bring Dallas back from an 88-83 deficit.
A last-ditch inbounds alley-oop pass to Ian Mahinmi failed and Dallas lost its fifth road game of the season, the third coming on a final-possession 3-pointer and the second in a row.
Williams and Billups carried Blake Griffin (14 points) & Co. to the win in their third game in three nights, while Dallas spent Tuesday in L.A. recuperating from Monday's late-game heartache against the Lakers.
This was another of what is becoming a routine, grind-it-out, low 40-percent shooting-type of Mavs game. Dallas didn't shoot better than 44.4 percent in any quarter and after clawing back to tie it, 71-71, at the end of the third quarter, they couldn't seize the momentum. Williams hit the first two shots of the quarter, Billups added a 3 midway through, and late in the fourth former Mavs forward Caron Butler, brutal from the field (1-of-12), drove and set up a DeAndre Jordan dunk with a perfect bounce pass.
But it was the backcourt duo of Williams (26 points on 11-of-15 shooting -- 18 in the first half and the rest in the fourth quarter) and Billups (21 points) that killed Dallas. Delonte West tried to carry Dallas with a hot start, scoring all 17 of his season-high scoring night in the first half. Jason Kidd had five points on 2-of-6 shooting (1-of-5 from beyond the arc) and Terry finished 5-of-13 for 12 points.
Dirk Nowitzki continued his shooting troubles with a 6-of-18 night for yet another game of less than 20 points. He finished with 17 points and just seven in the second half. The Mavs stayed in this thing with excellent offensive rebounding in the first half, when they scored 19 of their 21 second-chance points.
But, again, Dallas shot just 42 percent as a team and made just 12-of-18 from the free throw line.
What it means: The five-game win streak the Mavs brought with them to the West Coast is now a two-game skid that dropped them to 8-7. Dallas lost consecutive games for the first time since starting the season 0-3. Now it's on to a difficult second night of a back-to-back at the surging Jazz, who had the night off in Salt Lake City after destroying the Clippers on Tuesday night.
Play of the game: It has to be a lob, right? So why not go with the first one with about three minutes to go in the first quarter. Randy Foye set it up with a high lob that the chiseled, 6-foot-10 Griffin clamped with an outstretched right hand and threw down with force, a highlight moment begging to be made into a poster.
Stat of the day: Kidd ended an 0-of-12 drought from 3-point range in the two games in Los Angeles with a triple late in the third quarter that snipped Dallas’ one-time nine-point deficit in the period to one, 68-67. Kidd, who had a season-high 10 assists, was 1-of-5 from beyond the arc for the game and 1-of-13 against the two L.A. teams.