Final

Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series starts 12/10

Game 1: Tuesday, December 10th
Clippers95Final
Mavericks122
Game 2: Thursday, January 2nd
Clippers92Final
Mavericks102
Game 3: Sunday, January 12th
Mavericks96Final
Clippers90
Game 4: Wednesday, March 26th
Mavericks114Final
Clippers107

Clippers 90

(14-23, 8-13 home)

    Coverage: FSPI

    12:30 PM ET, January 12, 2003

    STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA

    1 2 3 4 T
    DAL 24 25 25 2296
    LAC 21 23 28 1890

    Top Performers

    Dallas: S. Nash 24 Pts, 9 Reb, 6 Ast, 1 Stl

    Los Angeles: C. Maggette 18 Pts, 9 Reb, 4 Ast, 2 Stl, 2 Blk

    Clips throw scare into Mavs before falling

    LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Dallas blew all of its 13-point lead by the fourth quarter, and that's when Steve Nash and Dirk Nowitzki took over.

    They combined to score 16 of the Mavs' 22 points in the final 12 minutes as Dallas held off the Los Angeles Clippers 96-90 Sunday to win their sixth straight and improve on the NBA's best road record.

    "We love close games. We can battle in there, make shots, and at the end we believed in ourselves and won the game,'' said Nowitzki, who had 23 points, including 10 in the fourth.

    Nash finished with 24 points and Michael Finley added 21 as Dallas opened a four-game road trip with its ninth win in 10 games. The Mavs have the league's best record at 31-5.

    After two earlier blowout losses at Dallas this season, the Clippers put a scare into the Mavs in the fourth quarter. Neither team led by more than three points for much of the period until the Mavs, 13-3 on the road, gained some breathing room with seven unanswered points to take the lead for good.

    Tied at 84, Nowitzki hit a 3-pointer, Raef LaFrentz scored on a follow dunk off Finley's miss and Nash scored on a driving layup for a 91-84 lead with 2:28 left.

    "They responded well to us,'' Nash said. "We made a run in the third quarter and got ourselves a big lead and they came right back at us. We were pretty sloppy, but you have to give them a lot of credit because they definitely stood their ground.''

    Elton Brand missed two key free throws for the Clippers and Keyon Dooling missed two consecutive 3-pointers in the final 1:39.

    "They made plays when it was time to and we didn't,'' Dooling said. "We put ourselves in a position to win the game, but we came up short.''

    Brand had 19 points and 12 rebounds, Corey Maggette added 18 points, and Lamar Odom had 17 points for the Clippers, who missed a chance to win their third straight for only the second time this season.

    "We were right there until the end,'' Clippers coach Alvin Gentry said. "It's important for our guys to understand that if we can play with that team and we can continue to play with the same kind of intensity and effort, we should be able to play with any team in this league.''

    The Clippers lost Maggette and Michael Olowokandi, who had nine points and 10 rebounds, when each fouled out within a minute of each other late in the fourth. Sean Rooks came in for Olowokandi, but he wasn't a dominant force inside, where the Clippers outscored the Mavs 50-38.

    "We searched and scratched and couldn't get anything going offensively during the second half,'' Mavs coach Don Nelson said. "Then we found a few wrinkles that got us to the basket, but they guarded us pretty well.''

    Dallas led 49-44 at the break only to see the Clippers close within two points on a basket by Odom early in the third. The Mavs built their largest lead, 71-58, on a 17-6 run in which Nash hit three 3-pointers and Nowitzki scored four points.

    "We get a little sloppy, we don't really execute as well anymore offensively and defensively,'' Nowitzki said of the Mavs' habit of losing double-digit leads. "We knew they were a dangerous team. We've got to do a better job protecting leads.''

    The final four minutes of the third belonged to the Clippers. They outscored the Mavs 14-3, with Maggette, Brand and Andre Miller doing all the scoring, to trail 74-72 going into the fourth. Nash cooled off, Finley started missing and only LaFrentz's 3-pointer kept Dallas from going scoreless in the stretch.

    The Clippers played a competitive first half instead of falling behind as has been their habit recently. They shot 39 percent, controlled the boards 22-18 and outscored the Mavs 10-5 in second-chance points.

    Dooling's 3-pointer gave the Clippers their only lead of the second quarter, 43-41, before the Mavs used an 8-1 run to lead 49-44 at halftime. Maggette's 3-point attempt to tie bounced off the rim, and Nash raced downcourt for a fastbreak layup that beat the halftime buzzer.

    Game notes


    Clippers G Quentin Richardson missed his fourth consecutive game because of a left ankle sprain sustained Jan. 8 against Memphis. ... The Mavs have won 17 of their last 19 against the Clippers and lead the season series 3-0. ... Los Angeles controlled the boards, 46-38.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Team Stat Comparison

     
    DAL
    LAC
    Points 96 90
    FGM-FGA 36-80 (.450) 36-81 (.444)
    3PM-3PA 6-20 (.300) 3-13 (.231)
    FTM-FTA 18-24 (.750) 15-21 (.714)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 11-38 16-46
    Assists 20 18
    Turnovers 9 13
    Steals 4 3
    Blocks 8 4
    Fast Break Points 4 3
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 18 (1/0) 25 (3/0)

    Top Performers

    Dallas
    Los Angeles
    Steve Nash Nash
    Points: 24
    Reb: 9
    Ast: 6
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0
    Corey Maggette Maggette
    Points: 18
    Reb: 9
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 2