Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Clippers 99, Mavericks 93
By Arash Markazi
LOS ANGELES -- You had to figure a game like this was on the horizon for the Los Angeles Clippers. They had just been too good, for too long at home not to come out flat and look uninterested from the opening tip as they did Wednesday night against the Dallas Mavericks.
Hey, it's an 82-game season, it's going to happen. You're not going to blow out everyone that comes into your building by double-digits, as the Clippers have this season in posting a league-best 17-3 home record and a franchise-best 12-game home winning streak.
Despite turning the ball over 21 times and falling behind by 10 points in the second half, the Clippers found a way to come back and beat the Mavericks, 99-93 on Wednesday. Great home teams find a way to do that and after winning their 13th straight game at Staples Center, it's hard not to call them that now.
Here are three takeaways from the game:
CP3 to the rescue
Before the game, the Clippers handed out large cutout heads of "Cliff Paul," the fictional twin brother Chris Paul plays in his new State Farm commercial. In the ad, Paul and Paul are showcased as twins who assist others on and off the court. On Wednesday night, Paul showed why there might not be a better player in the league when it comes to assisting his teammates. Paul finished with 19 points, a season-high 16 assists and five rebounds in the game. Only eight times has a player put up that kind of stat line in the NBA since 2010 and Paul has been responsible for five of them, with the last four coming as a member of the Clippers. As the Clippers stormed back in the fourth quarter, it was Paul who came up with one crucial steal and basket after another to will the Clippers to a win.
Barnes on fire
Matt Barnes has had to carry much of the load off the bench in the absence of Jamal Crawford, who missed two games before returning to the lineup Wednesday night. Barnes, however, didn't take a step back with Crawford back. Barnes was on fire, hitting his first three 3-pointers and finishing with five overall, a season-high. Barnes had 19 points and seven rebounds as he continues to have the best statistical season of his 10-year career and help the Clippers' formidable second unit.
Crawford back, Hill waits
The Clippers got some good news before the game when Crawford was cleared to play for the first time in two games after dealing with a sore left foot. He scored 11 points in 26 minutes and showed he hadn't lost his touch during his time off by hitting 2-of-4 from beyond the arc. The Clippers also got some good news when Grant Hill, who hasn't played this season with bone bruises in his right knee, went through practices and shootaround pain-free. Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro decided to give Hill some time off before activating him for Saturday's game against Orlando, but Hill’s addition will only add to the Clippers' already deep bench.