GAMEDAY REPORT: CLIPPERS VS. MAVERICKS - 1/3/14
Game #35 | January 3, 2014
American Airlines Center | Dallas, TX
DALLAS – Without Chris Paul and with the Mavericks seemingly making every shot they took, the Clippers found a way.
Blake Griffin scored five of his 25 points in the final two minutes, DeAndre Jordan had a career night and the Clippers survived an offensive onslaught by the Mavericks, 119-112, at American Airlines Center Friday night.
The Clippers (23-12) moved to 9-9 on the road and did it without Paul for the final quarter and a half. Paul, who scored 19 points with six assists, left the game with 6:43 to go in the third quarter due to a right shoulder sprain.
But trailing by seven points in the fourth, the Clippers closed the game on a 16-2 run, highlighted by Griffin, who had 25 points and 15 rebounds, and Jordan, who scored a career-high 25 points with 18 rebounds. The duo had 10 points in the run, including a pair of 3-point plays and an alley-oop from Jordan to Griffin.
“We knew we had to step up and we knew everybody had to play their part,” Griffin said, “and that’s what we did. It was a great team win. A lot of players played great individually, but it was a great team win.”
Griffin’s 3-point play gave the Clippers a 113-112 lead with 1:37 to play. He halted Dirk Nowitzki on the ensuing possession forcing the Mavericks’ star into a tough fade away with a hand in his face. Griffin earned a trip to the line nine seconds later and canned both free throws. He finished 11-for-13 in the game from the foul line.
“They were awesome,” Rivers said of Griffin and Jordan. “I mean, they were awesome. We got Blake and D.J. running around switching on guards, guarding Dirk, trapping at halfcourt. We had to try to do something to try and mess up their rhythm and it worked. In doing it you’re wearing your bigs out.
“They were game. They hung in there and did it for us.”
Nowitzki had a team-high 24 points despite being questionable prior to the game with a sprained left ankle. But he scored just five points in the fourth quarter and missed two key shots down the stretch.
And even though the Mavericks scored 112 points, including 70 in the first half, the Clippers defense shut them down over the final four minutes.
“We gave up a 16-2 run to end the game,” Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle said. “As hard as we worked to get the lead back up to seven in the fourth, we just gave it up too easy. Defensively, they went right through us and offensively, without getting stops, the shots got harder. It’s on every one of us, coaches and players, and it’s very disappointing because it was an opportunity lost.”
Former Mavericks point guard Darren Collison played the entire fourth quarter in reserve of Paul and scored a season-high 20 points. He along with Jordan made up for the absence of their leader.
Afterwards Jordan said that part of the Clippers’ game plan was to take advantage of mismatches inside even when Paul was in the lineup.
“Early they went with [Samuel] Dalembert on Blake and left Dirk on me and I know he didn’t want to get in foul trouble,” Jordan said. “Blake, Chris and Jamal [Crawford], they draw a lot of attention and me ducking in I was just getting easy baskets. I was kind of in the right position to score early and that’s kind of how it was the whole game.”
Defense was seemingly optional for both teams in the first half, when the Clippers and Mavericks combined to score 137 points with 17 3-pointers. They each shot better than 55 percent, each had three players in double figures, led by Paul’s 19 points on 5-of-6 shooting, and each went on runs of 10 points or more without a miss.
Paul helped lead the Clippers back from a 13-point first-half deficit, scoring eight consecutive points and throwing the ball ahead to Griffin for a flying double-clutch dunk around Jose Calderon to cut Dallas’ lead to 61-60. Paul’s fifth 3-pointer of the half evened the score at 67 with 59.9 seconds left and Jose Calderon buried a 3-pointer just 11 seconds later to make it 70-67.
It was the most points the Clippers have allowed in a half all season.
“This was really a tough game mentally because when you come out and you want to do well and they jump on you the way they jumped on you,” Rivers said. “And instead of getting sideways, we hung in there and found a way.”
The Clippers went 9-for-23 from 3-point range, but did not make one in the second half. They are undefeated when making at least nine 3-pointers in a game this season (14-0)… Paul made his first five shots, all 3-pointers, tying a career high… Shawn Marion scored 20 points for Dallas… The Clippers held a 46-39 advantage on the boards… They scored 18 points off of 12 Mavericks turnovers… The Clippers have scored 25 points or more in seven of their last eight quarters… Crawford had 17 points. It is the eighth time in 11 starts that he’s scored at least 17 points. The Clippers are 8-3 in those games…
|Clippers center DeAndre Jordan on the defensive effort after allowing 70 points in the first half:
“It was really just us locking in more defensively. In order to win this game we had to get stops. We all buckled down and limited them to won shot and ultimately won the game.”
|Clippers guard Jamal Crawford on playing without Chris Paul:
“We leaned on each other. Obviously, Chris is one of the best players in the world. It’s always disheartening to see him in pain because he cares about the game so much. That’s even more of a reason to rally around each other, use each other, lean on each other, and we poured it out tonight.”
Clippers forward Blake Griffin on his free throw shooting:
“It doesn’t matter what time in the game when I go to the line I feel like I’m going to make them. That changes my game for sure because I don’t shy away from being fouled. I’m looking for that contact when I go up to score.”
|Mavericks guard Monta Ellis on the difference in the game:
“I just think Blake [Griffin] and DeAndre [Jordan] they just killed us on the boards. I think both of them had 20 some and 15. They’ve got those two big guys and I know it’s a load, but we’ve got to do a better job. That was a tough one I thought we had a good chance of winning it. Even in the second half we started out with a lot of aggression and they made their run and they won the ball game.”
|Clippers head coach Doc Rivers on what Blake Griffin needs to do with Chris Paul out of the lineup
“I don’t think Blake needs to do anything different. Blake’s been playing great. I don’t know what else more he can do. Blake’s got to keep playing the way Blake’s been playing. It’s going to be other guys who are going to have to play better.”
By: Eric Patten | Follow @EricPatten
DALLAS – The road was somewhat unkind to the Clippers in 2013. On Friday night they get a chance to change that in the New Year.
The Clippers (22-12) open a swift two-game road trip at American Airlines Center against the Dallas Mavericks (19-13).
“It’s going to be tough,” Chris Paul said. “I was in that division (the Southwest) for six years, so I know what it’s like to go to San Antonio, Dallas, Houston. It’s always tough.”
They are just 8-9 on the road this season, including dropping two games on their back-to-back trip on Dec. 25 and 26 at Golden State and Portland. Friday and Saturday, against the Mavericks and Spurs, respectively, offers something of a reprieve.
“We know what happened on Christmas and the day after Christmas,” Paul said. “We ain’t getting no moral victories. We’ve got to find a way to go there and not just compete, but win.”
It starts in Dallas, a place the Clippers have lost 11 times in their last 12 games. The Mavericks have been somewhat surprising through 32 games. While they still have superstar Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas was open about their pursuit of big-name free agents in the past two summers. After striking out, they added Monta Ellis and Jose Calderon, two players who, while not the big-ticket names they had hoped for, have helped them to a .594 winning percentage.
The Mavericks are returning home after sweeping a three-game road trip, while the Clippers have won two of their last three.
Blake Griffin vs. Dirk Nowitzki
It is the most obvious matchup, and one of the best and despite the aesthetic differences quite evenly matched. In eight of their previous nine meetings Griffin and Nowitzki have scored within four points of one another’s point total, including twice matching each other. Nowitzki’s averaging 20.7 points per game and 6.6 rebounds, while Griffin is at 18.2 points and 12.0 rebounds in their games head-to-head.
“He’s a tough cover,” Griffin said. “When he’s healthy and had a full season and he’s really on it, he’s one of the most difficult guys to cover because it’s almost impossible to block his shot.
“That’s what makes him so tough. It’s tough to tell what he’s doing or what his next move is. It seems like at the last second when you realize he’s going up for a shot it’s too late. You just have to do your work early and get into him and make him uncomfortable and try to make him as uncomfortable as possible and try to make him put it on the ground a little bit more.”
Griffin said the addition of Ellis, who like Nowitzki is averaging better than 20 points per game this season (his first in Dallas), has helped open things up for the future Hall of Famer.
“Anytime you have two pure scorers like that, it puts a lot of pressure on your defense. So, it’s going to have to be a team thing, keeping Monta out of the paint and keeping him from getting comfortable. And the same thing with Dirk, and the other guys, just trying to contain them and keep them from having an impact on the game.”
Griffin is arguably putting up the best 10-game stretch of his career. He’s scored 30 points or more three times in the last four games and is averaging 26.1 points since Dec. 14.
Nowitzki tweaked his left ankle against the Wizards, but returned to the game to play 32 minutes. According to the Dallas Morning News, Nowitzki said he is “fine.”
THINGS TO WATCH
1. Home and away. Despite losing two in a row at American Airlines Center, Dallas is 11-4 at home. Clippers head coach Doc Rivers used the word “tough” to describe the Mavericks in their home arena and the numbers have proven it. They are 5.5 points better at home than on the road in scoring differential and score almost eight points more per 100 possessions.
2. Milestones. Griffin and Paul are both closing in on scoring milestones. Griffin is just five points away from tying Benoit Benjamin for No. 10 on the Clippers’ all-time scoring list. He has ascended into the top 10 faster than any player in team history. Paul is just 43 points shy of reaching 11,000 for his career. He will become one of nine players in NBA history to reach 11,000 points and 5,000 assists before the end of his ninth season. Additionally, Mavericks forward Shawn Marion, who is averaging 11.4 points and 7.3 rebounds, is one point away from 17,000 for his career.
3. First half scoring. Several Clippers players have said they must get off to better starts. They had a season-low 14 points in the opening quarter in their last road loss in Portland and had back-to-back season-low first halves at home in the two games that followed. The Mavericks are 14-3 this season when an opponent scores fewer than 50 points in the first half. The Clippers, meanwhile average 50.9 points per game in the opening 24 minutes.
The Clippers lost in overtime in Dallas last year after Griffin was whistled for an offensive foul after making a circus shot at the buzzer that would have won the game… The Clippers are 15-6 against Western Conference opponents this season… They have won four of the last six matchups with the Mavericks… Nowitzki scored 24.0 points per game in two starts versus the Clippers in 2012-13… Jared Dudley scored 20 points on Wednesday. He had more points in that game than his previous three games combined. The Clippers are 13-1 when he scores at least 10 points…
LAST TIME OUT
DUDLEY GETS GOING