DALLAS (AP) -- The Dallas Mavericks were welcoming back team
leader Michael Finley from the longest absence of his career and
his running buddies, Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash, were stepping
onto the court hours after being selected All-Stars.
None of it mattered.
Jeff McInnis scored a season-high 31 points, including three
straight 3-pointers in the closing minutes, as the Los Angeles
Clippers beat Dallas 117-100 Tuesday night and ended the Mavericks'
seven-game winning streak.
The Clippers avenged a 133-112 loss to Dallas last week and
rebounded from an overtime loss in Memphis the night before. This
was only their fourth win in 19 road games and it came on the
second game of a seven-game road trip, their longest of the season.
"I just think we're growing as a team," Los Angeles coach
Alvin Gentry said. "After playing these guys a few days ago and
giving up 133 points, to come back and win by 17 and hold them to
33 points less, it's a great win for our guys.
"The biggest thing about the win is that I think it shows
everyone that we are headed in the right direction and our young
guys are getting better."
The Clippers, who had lost 12 straight to Dallas, led 104-100
with 3:58 left, then scored the final 13 points. McInnis had the
first eight and Darius Miles the last five, including a 3-pointer
with 1.6 seconds left while the Mavericks stood with slumped
shoulders and sagging faces.
Dallas had won 20 of 23, and Finley was coming back after
spending 11 games on the injured list with a strained hamstring.
Nowitzki and Nash stepped up so much in his absence that both were
selected All-Star reserves early Tuesday.
But Finley sat out the final 11 minutes, Nowitzki went more than
two quarters without scoring and Nash went scoreless in the fourth
quarter after putting up 13 in the third.
Nash and Nowitzki each scored 22. Finley had 14 points in 29
minutes and at times seemed as explosive as ever.
"I didn't get as winded as I thought I'd be," he said.
Mavericks coach Don Nelson said he might have been too cautious
with Finley by leaving him on the bench down the stretch.
"You can say we should've given Mike a try. I wouldn't argue,"
McInnis had only seven points at halftime, then scored 11 points
in the third quarter and 13 in the fourth. He fell two shy of his
career high in points. He also had eight assists.
"We came out with an attitude that we're going to beat them,"
he said. "I can see the confidence in the guys right now."
The Mavericks led by nine in the second quarter, but the
Clippers attacked the lane in the third and kept pounding away in
An 11-2 run early in the final period gave them a 93-87 lead.
The first of McInnis' late 3-pointers made it 104-95, then Nowitzki
scored five straight points. But the Mavericks wouldn't score
"It wasn't the best game we played, but we're not going to
undefeated the rest of the year," said Nowitzki, who had 22
points. "We just have to move on."
Miles and Quentin Richardson each scored 15.
Dallas' Juwan Howard had 14 points and nine rebounds and Adrian
Griffin had seven points and 10 rebounds. Tim Hardaway scored 13,
but his first nine came in a flurry during the second quarter, all
on 3-pointers. He missed his next five 3s.
"It's tough to beat a team twice in a row," Nash said. "They
came after us and caused us some problems."
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, an outspoken and often-fined
critic of NBA officials, will be a referee during the first quarter
of the Harlem Globetrotters game against the New York Nationals at
the American Airlines Center on Friday. ... Clippers center Michael
Olowakandi was called for traveling on consecutive possessions in
the first quarter. ... Rookie guard Charlie Bell went on the
injured list to open the roster spot for Finley. ... Richardson,
who tied franchise record by going 7-for-11 on 3-pointers in the
previous Dallas game, went 1-for-4 on 3s. ... When the Mavericks
won big over the Clippers last week, five players scored at least
19 points. Only Nowitzki and Nash did this time.