Activated Wednesday, Rice saves the day

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Glen Rice's return to the Clippers paid bigger dividends than Dirk Nowitzki comeback for the Dallas Mavericks.

Rice, who missed the previous five games because of a bruised
right knee, hit a jumper from the top of the key as time expired
Wednesday night to give the Clippers a 100-99 victory over Dallas.

"It feels great," Rice said. "Being a shooter, you've got to
be ready. Tonight it went in at the right time. I was able to catch
it in rhythm and stroke it."

Corey Maggette scored 20 of his 30 points in the first half for
Los Angeles, which overcame a 22-point deficit. Chris Wilcox scored
21 points off the bench and Elton Brand had 18 points and 10
rebounds as the Clippers beat the Mavericks for only the fourth
time in their last 22 meetings.

Michael Finley was nearly unstoppable in the first half for the
Mavericks, scoring 29 of his 38 points. Antoine Walker finished
with 21 points and 10 assists, but had a critical shot blocked by
Brand in the final two minutes to give the Clippers a chance to
pull it out.

The loss was the fourth straight on the road for the Mavericks,
who tied for the best road record in the NBA last season. It left
coach Don Nelson still needing one more win to tie Pat Riley for
second place on the career coaching victories list behind Lenny

"The game was very disappointing," Nelson said. "We really
let them back in the game by doing some unlikely things. It was a
comedy of errors out there."

Dallas point guard Steve Nash had a chance to give Dallas a
three-point lead with 12.1 seconds left, the 93 percent
foul-shooter missed both to end his streak of 23 in a row.

Nowitzki rebounded a missed 20-footer by Maggette, but tripped
over Rice's feet as he came down and lost the ball out of bounds to
give the Clippers one last chance. Brand missed a baseline jumper
from the left side and Finley batted the ball right into the hands
of Rice.

"Rice makes good decisions, and the right plays for us when
he's out there," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. "Having that
veteran got out there at times has worked for us. And when the ball
got to him, that was as much as I could hope for."

The Clippers lost Sunday at home on a
buzzer-beating jumper by Kevin Garnett of Minnesota.

"It feels good to be a part of this. We owed it to the fans for
the Minnesota game the other day," Brand said. "They saw a
last-second buzzer-beater on the other side, so for us to hit one
tonight was a great feeling."

Finley, whose 28-point effort on Nov. 28 against Chicago was his
previous best this season, topped that on 17-footer in the final
minute of the first half.

The two-time All-Star guard played the entire third quarter,
then started the fourth with a reverse layup and a 19-footer to
help increase a five-point lead to 86-79 with 10:58 to play.

Finley made 13 of 16 shots in the first half and the Mavericks
were a collective 61.8 percent from the field, but led only 60-56.
It was the fourth time in 21 games that the Mavericks had at least
60 points by halftime, with the other three resulting in wins.

The Mavericks needed just over nine minutes to build a 35-15
lead. They forced six turnovers during that span, while Finley and
Walker each went 5-for-5 from the field.

After Walker opened the second quarter with a short-running hook
that made it 41-19, the Clippers stormed back with 14 points by
Maggette in a 5:03 span.

Game Notes: The Mavericks, who came in averaging the fewest turnovers
in the league, had nine. ... In their previous meeting with the
Clippers on March 26, Nowitzki scored eight points in the final 76
seconds of a 114-107 win.


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