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Mavs hit 10 of first 11 shots to seize control

2/25/2004

DALLAS (AP) -- The Dallas Mavericks got back to their winning
ways against the Los Angeles Clippers.

Antoine Walker scored 21 points, Michael Finley added 20 and the
Mavericks beat the Clippers for the first time in three tries this
season, 116-91 on Tuesday night.

The Clippers were upset winners in the first two meetings,
including a 10-point victory in Dallas on Dec. 20. Overall,
however, Dallas has won 18 of the last 22 matchups.

Dallas got off to a fast start, converting 10 of its first 11
field goal tries for a 36-18 lead heading into the second quarter.
The Mavericks shot 14-for-21 in the first quarter while the
Clippers were 7-for-18.

"We wanted to get off to a good start," said Walker, who hit
five of his first seven shots and had 11 first-quarter points. "We
dropped two games against these guys. We just wanted to come out,
be aggressive and play basketball the way we're capable of."

Dirk Nowitzki had 16 points, nine rebounds and five blocks, and
Antawn Jamison added 11 points and 10 rebounds for the Mavericks,
who've won seven of their last nine.

The Mavericks have had problems closing out games this season,
but they had no such worries Tuesday night. On Dec. 10, Dallas held
a 20-point lead after the first quarter against the Clippers at
Staples Center, only to lose 100-99.

Dallas has only five victories by 20 or more points this season
after 17 such blowouts last season.

"We haven't had many like that," Jamison said. "It's good to
know we can finish off a team when we get a big lead."

Corey Maggette's 21 points and Bobby Simmons' 16 paced the
Clippers, who have lost six of their past eight.

The Clippers played inconsistent defense and missed 13 of 42
free throw attempts as they matched their most lopsided loss this
season.

"If you don't bring it defensively against this team, this is
going to happen to you," said Clippers guard Quentin Richardson,
who went 3-for-12 from the field and scored seven points, 10 below
his average.

Clippers forward Elton Brand also struggled, finishing with
eight points, almost 13 below his average. Dallas turned its
defensive attention to Brand, who had 39 and 31 points in his two
previous games.

"We wanted to take care of Elton Brand," Nowitzki said. "We
kept him off the glass and made a concerted effort not to let him
get going."

The Mavericks, 25-4 at home, went 24-of-28 from the free throw
line.

Dallas was in front at halftime, 65-43, behind Walker's 8-for-10
shooting from the floor.

The Clippers were only able to get as close as 20 in the third
quarter, and the Mavericks held a 92-66 edge entering the fourth.

"We didn't have our A or B game tonight," Clippers coach Mike
Dunleavy said. "They've beaten us twice so we knew it would be a
dog fight. This team is too good to have that happen again."

Game notes
The Mavericks had their 100th straight home sellout. Dallas
is 81-19 in those games. ... Only two of the Clippers' seven
first-quarter baskets came from the outside. ... Dallas' biggest
win of the season was by 28 over New Orleans on Nov. 11. ... The
Clippers also lost by 25 to the Sacramento Kings on Jan. 19. ...
The Mavericks are 16-0 this season when scoring 110 or more. ...
Nowitzki's five blocked shots matched a career high. ... The
Clippers had the most free throw attempts by a Mavericks opponent
this season.