Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 4)

Series starts 12/10

Game 1: Tuesday, December 10th
Game 2: Thursday, January 2nd
Game 3: Sunday, January 12th
Game 4: Wednesday, March 26th

Clippers 95

(9-13, 4-6 away)

Mavericks 122


    Coverage: FSSW

    7:30 PM ET, December 10, 2002

    American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX

    1 2 3 4 T
    LAC 21 24 17 3395
    DAL 26 42 27 27122

    Top Performers

    LAC: E. Brand 20 Pts, 10 Reb, 2 Stl, 1 Blk

    Dal: M. Finley 24 Pts, 9 Reb, 5 Ast, 1 Stl

    Mavs romp despite injuries to Nowitzki, Griffin

    DALLAS (AP) -- Even minus injured starters Dirk Nowitzki and Adrian Griffin, the Dallas Mavericks had enough firepower to keep their perfect home record intact.


    Van Exel
    Van Exel

    Nick Van Exel and Michael Finley had 24 points each as the Mavericks beat the Los Angeles Clippers 122-95 Tuesday night.

    Steve Nash had 17 points and seven assists and Shawn Bradley added 13 points and 11 rebounds for the Mavericks, 10-0 at home and a league-best 19-2 overall.

    Reserve Walt Williams is also out with a sprained right elbow, so the Mavericks got major minutes off the bench from Van Exel, Bradley and Popeye Jones, who finished with 11 points and five rebounds.

    Dallas especially needed a big night from Finley.

    "When Dirk went down, everyone had to step it up,'' Finley said. "I took it upon myself to do that.''

    Van Exel went 6-for-10 from 3-point range and was 8-for-13 from the field overall to help the Mavericks to a season-high point total.

    "We have some good shooters that shoot the ball well from out there, so we're going to take them,'' Van Exel said. "We made shots, played pretty good defensively, and just closed it out.''

    Elton Brand's 20 points and 10 rebounds, and Quentin Richardson's 16 points paced the weary Clippers, who had their season-high three-game winning streak snapped.

    The Clippers, playing their third game in four nights, were overwhelmed on a night when the Mavericks shot 58 percent beyond the 3-point arc (14-for-24), 53 percent overall (43-for-81).

    "When they shoot like that from the 3-point line, they're going to beat anybody,'' said Clippers coach Alvin Gentry. "That's how you get up by 30. It was a five to seven point game, then all of a sudden they made threes, that's how they get separation. They're a great offensive team.''

    Finley had been slumping, shooting 37.4 percent and averaging 13.7 points over his previous six games before converting 8-of-15 from the field on Tuesday night.

    "I'm going to have my good days and bad days,'' Finley said. "That's just the type of player I am. Tonight the shots were falling for me.''

    Nowitzki exited with 2:58 remaining in the first quarter with a sprained right ankle and did not return. Mavericks coach Don Nelson said Nowitzki is day-to-day and hasn't been ruled out of Wednesday night's game at San Antonio.

    Griffin left for the night with a partially dislocated right shoulder. He popped his shoulder back into place, and Nelson said he is "pretty sore.'' Griffin's condition will be evaluated on Wednesday.

    Jones had drawn an offensive foul from Richardson, and as Jones fell to the floor, he rolled onto Nowitzki's right leg. Nowitzki was leading the team with 22.5 points and 11.1 rebounds per game.

    Nowitzki, who also has a sore right elbow, hopped on his left leg as he was helped to the locker room. He finished with two points and two rebounds in nine minutes.

    Clippers guard Eric Piatkowski was done for the night after incurring a pulled left groin in the first quarter.

    The Mavericks broke the game open with a 42-24 second quarter to build a 68-45 halftime lead.

    The Clippers were as close as 26-25 early in the second quarter, but the Mavericks shot 69 percent in the quarter, hitting five of seven 3-pointers, three by Van Exel.

    Dallas, which was in front by as many as 35 points in the third quarter, took a 95-62 lead into the fourth quarter.

    The Clippers opened the final quarter with a 17-8 run against the Mavericks' reserves to cut the deficit to 103-79, but Los Angeles could get no closer.

    Game notes

    Dallas' 42-point second quarter was its highest scoring quarter of the season. ...Clippers F Wang Zhizhi received a mixed reaction from the crowd when he entered the game with 5:53 left in the second quarter. Zhizhi, who finished with a season-high nine points, played for the Mavericks from 2000-2002 before signing with the Clippers as a free agent over the summer. ...Only the 1983-84 Mavericks got off to a better home start than this season's team. Dallas won its first 11 at home in 1983-84. ...The Mavericks' previous season high was 121 points in a win over Golden State last Saturday night.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 95 122
    FGM-FGA 36-88 (.409) 43-81 (.531)
    3PM-3PA 4-18 (.222) 14-24 (.583)
    FTM-FTA 19-24 (.792) 22-24 (.917)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 16-42 11-45
    Assists 15 29
    Turnovers 12 15
    Steals 6 7
    Blocks 5 8
    Fast Break Points 5 10
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 21 (1/0) 26 (1/0)

    Top Performers

    Los Angeles
    Elton Brand Brand
    Points: 20
    Reb: 10
    Ast: 0
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 1
    Michael Finley Finley
    Points: 24
    Reb: 9
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0