Game #73 | March 27, 2014
American Airlines Center | Dallas, TX
DALLAS – After getting the Clippers got their most crucial stop of Thursday’s game against the Dallas Mavericks, DeAndre Jordan took three long strides towards center court, pumped his fist and let out an emphatic yell.
It’s late March, but the Western Conference Playoffs may have already started.
With nine teams vying for eight spots and the bottom five in the group separated by a mere two games in the standings, it was almost inevitable that Thursday night at American Airlines Center would feel something like a preliminary round.
On Thursday the Clippers came back from 11 points down to upend the Mavericks, 109-103, after Blake Griffin finished off a go-ahead layup and Chris Paul and Jamal Crawford helped ice the game in the final seconds with free throws.
It was the third straight time this season the Clippers (51-22), coming off a two-point loss a night earlier in New Orleans, have overcome a double-digit fourth-quarter deficit against the Mavericks (43-30), who are in ninth place a half game behind the Suns for the final spot in the postseason.
“[The Mavericks] have been playing almost do-or-die basketball for a while now, just because of their positioning,” Griffin said. “So, a game like this is huge for us, especially coming off a back-to-back on the road. To pick up a win like this is big for our confidence.”
And the final minute was certainly big for Griffin’s confidence. With the game tied at 101 and 38.9 seconds remaining the Clippers designed a play for Griffin, who converted a spinning layup in the center of the lane to give them a two-point lead. They forced Monta Ellis into a tough jumper on the other end and Paul sunk a pair of foul shots to give L.A. a 105-101 lead.
Paul, who arrived at the arena early for extra shooting, bounced back from a 0-for-12 shooting performance a night earlier in New Orleans to go 9-for-18 in Dallas and score a game-high 31 points. He also had nine assists, four rebounds and three steals. It was the most points Paul has scored since returning from a separated shoulder on Feb. 9.
Griffin added 18 points, 13 rebounds and four assists and made two clutch baskets with the game in the balance, a running bank to tie the score at 101 and the go-ahead basket two possessions later. And also helped hold Dirk Nowitzki without a fourth-quarter field goal, including rejecting a turnaround jumper and forcing a turnover on the Dallas possession that led to Griffin’s second layup.
“Blake was MVP of the game tonight,” Paul said. “The defense that he played on Dirk was unbelievable. When we needed a bucket we were in a timeout and told B.G. get us a bucket and he did.”
Jordan had 16 points and 15 rebounds. Crawford scored 14 points off the bench and Matt Barnes added 12 points and four assists.
The night was full of drama. There were high-caliber shots, six technical fouls, and a brief shoving match in front of the Clippers’ bench after Paul bumped into Marion as Jose Calderon attempted a 3-pointer from the corner. Both teams shot better than 46 percent, made at least 3-pointers and were within two rebounds of each other.
The first half was relatively tepid compared to the Clippers’ previous two meetings with Dallas. The teams have combined for at least 118 points in all three first halves this season. On Thursday, the Clippers fell behind a dozen after the Mavericks scored 21 of 25 points in one second-quarter stretch.
But the Clippers responded with a 12-2 run of their own. It started after Griffin spun baseline off Shawn Marion for a dunk, his only field goal of the half, and concluded after Jordan converted his second of two spectacular alley-oops.
The first lob to Jordan came from Paul, who flipped it to Jordan in the center of the lane. Jordan caught the ball with his body at an angle that looked almost parallel to the ground and dunked it with his right hand. Shortly thereafter, Griffin lobbed one to Jordan with both big men running at full speed. Jordan caught it at the left side of the rim and was staring down at it as he finished the play. Jordan’s second dunk cut Dallas’ lead to 54-52.
Even after the Clippers jumped out to a seven-point lead in the third quarter, Dallas had another extended run in them. They scored the first 10 points of the fourth quarter and did not allow the Clippers to score until Paul made a technical free throw with 8:56 to go. But as has been the case in the season series thus far, the Clippers came back.
“I think it’s our resilience,” Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said. “We’ve been down a lot in the fourth quarter, three times against them and several times against other guys. It’s the growth. Mentally, we just hang in there and that bodes well for us.”
Paul, Barnes and Marion were assessed technical fouls after the altercation occurred in front of the Clippers’ bench in the third quarter… Barnes has scored at least 10 points in seven of the last eight games against the Mavericks… Danny Granger left the game early in the fourth quarter with a strained left hamstring and did not return. Granger, who had two points off the bench, said he doesn’t believe the injury is serious… Griffin’s streak of 30 consecutive games with 20 points or more came to end… Vince Carter scored a season-high tying 23 points off the bench… Nowitzki had 21 points… The Clippers went 11-for-26 from 3-point range (42.3 percent). It’s their third game in a row with at least 11 3-pointers…
Clippers Guard Chris Paul
“I came over to the arena early today. Me, Willie, and Reggie and just shot a little bit to see the ball go through. I’ve always loved playing here in Dallas to tell you the truth. I saw couple go through early and had a nice rhythm.”
(This was an emotional game. What were your thoughts on this game?)
“We need to start playing like that more often to tell you the truth. We knew it was going to be a playoff type game going into the game. We saw that Oklahoma City game the other night and they’re not just fighting for their playoff lives, we’re trying to gear up for the playoffs too.”
(The way Blake Griffin played tonight)
“Blake was MVP of the game tonight. The defense that he played on Dirk was unbelievable. When we needed a bucket we were in a timeout and told BG get us a bucket and he did.”
(How big was this win tonight?)
“It was big for us. I just told Willie that. This would have been a tough lost especially after last night. Going into Houston is a big game, but it feels good to get a win on this trip.”
“We just keep fighting. Obviously we have to get better because we’re a very emotional team. As you can see we probably lead the league in techs or something like that. This game was crazy, yall saw it, but I’m happy we came out with the win.”
Clippers Head Coach Doc Rivers
“I told them [the team] before the game it’s going to be an emotional game, it’s going to be a playoff game, because Dallas – they’re fighting. And, so I told them if you don’t meet their energy you’re not going to win, because they’re fighting for their lives right now. And you’ve got to act like it’s a playoff game, and I thought our guys for the most part met that challenge. We had the lull when they ran zone that affected our offense for way too long – we were almost playing like we’d never seen it before. And that got them [Dallas] that lead. But our guys I’ve got to give them credit. We fought back, played last night, and to have the energy to finish off the fourth quarter was terrific. And Blake [Griffin], we talk about all the other stuff - his offense and his passing – [but] Blake the last two games especially his defense has been off the charts. We didn’t help down the stretch and he guarded, to me, one of the best offensive players in the history of the game, and stayed with him and fought him. Dirk [Nowitzki] made some shots, but overall Blake was absolutely wonderful.”
[I’m sure you’re not surprised that Chris Paul came back with the game he had….) – “Yeah, you knew. Well, I didn’t really know it, but once he made that first three we were good, and that was good. It was good to see him – he didn’t hesitate at all tonight. He was looking for his shot and running the team at the same time, and that’s what we want him to do every night.”
Mavericks Head Coach Rick Carlisle
(On what went wrong offensively down the stretch)
“We had some turnovers and we missed shots.”
(On why the Clippers have been so difficult to close out in games this year)
“We just haven’t done a good job it’s as simple as that. We have another shot at them next week so we have to aim at that. But we have games in the meantime and they are all important so we just have to shake this one off and get ready for the next one.”
(On if the ball was moving enough at the end)
“We were trying to find a hot hand at the end and it was just a struggle. It was a struggle to get the ball into the basket. Monta [Ellis] had it a couple of times, Dirk [Nowitzki] had it a couple of times, Vince [Carter] had it once, Jose [Calderon] had it once and we had some uncharacteristically off shots. A couple of them were just unusually bad misses but at the end of NBA games it’s going to be harder to get good shots if you’re not stopping the other team. When it came down to it we just didn’t get enough stops.”
(On the frame of mind of the Mavericks after the game)
“We have to shake it off. I didn’t do an analysis just now but I think our guys are disappointed. They fought hard. We made mistakes and mistakes are very costly. 18 turnovers in a game like this for 24 points is too many, so, decision making has got to be better. It’s basically the next game becomes the most important game of the year, that’s just how it is going to be, every one down the stretch.”
Mavericks guard Devin Harris
(What happened down the stretch tonight?) – “I think tonight we just didn’t get good looks. We took some tough shots with a minute, minute and a half to go. We couldn’t get anything to fall and defensively we had some lapses where we gave up some layups and some easy baskets. We’ve got to do a better job of executing.”
(Tempers flared up again tonight how did that impact the game?) – “I don’t think it had a big impact. The last time we played them had more of an impact. We played thru some of the antics tonight. I thought we did a good job of just continuing to play basketball. We just didn’t make enough plays to win the game late.”
Mavericks forward Jae Crowder
(What was the biggest reason for the loss tonight?) – “We didn’t get stops in the clutch. Going into the 4th quarter we didn’t score the ball when the chance was given to us in the clutch so we came out on the bad end of it tonight.”
(Lots of techs tonight so did that work against you guys?) – “I guess you can say that now after a loss, but it definitely gave us some momentum going into it and a little fight. We everything went down I thought both teams really stepped it up physically.”
(How would you describe the overall attitude of the team right now?) – “Win. Aggressive. Not settling for losses and trying to win out and let the rest of it take care of itself.”
Blake Griffin vs Dirk NowitzkiTwo of the best power forwards in the game battle it out
Blake Griffin Postgame - 3/27/14Blake Griffin's postgame comments following the win in Dallas.
Jamal Crawford Postgame - 3/27/14Jamal Crawford's postgame comments following the win in Dallas.
Blake & DJ Alley-Oops vs DallasBlake lobs it up twice for a DeAndre dunk
Jump Out of the GymBlake Griffin throws the alley-oop to DeAndre Jordan for the high-flying finish.
Blake GriffinMadelyn Burke talks with Blake Griffin about the growth of this Clippers team
Doc Rivers Pregame - 3/27/14Doc talks about Danny Granger, Blake's season and more pregame in Dallas.
LACtv Preview: Clippers at MavericksClippers look to bounce back Thursday at Dallas, Crawford making a case for Sixth Man of the Year.
Thursday Throwdown 3/27/14The best Clippers dunk of the week.
Assist of the Night: Chris PaulChris Paul picks up the loose ball and dishes to Blake Griffin off the backboard for the alley-oop jam.
Crawford's 31-point NightJamal Crawford goes 10-for-23 from the field scoring 31 points in a tough loss to the Pelicans.
Blake Griffin Postgame - 3/26/14Griffin's postgame comments from New Orleans.
Jamal Crawford Postgame - 3/26/14Crawford's postgame comments from New Orleans.
Chris Paul Postgame - 3/26/14Chris Paul's postgame comments from New Orleans.
Doc Rivers Postgame - 3/26/14Rivers addresses the media following the game vs. New Orleans.
Clippers vs. Pelicans: First halfJamal Crawford has 19 points but Anthony Morrow's 20 points leads the Pelicans over the Clipper by three at the half.
Doc Rivers Pregame - 3/26/14Doc Rivers pregame talks about differences between the Clippers now and 4 weeks ago and much more.
Paul's Backboard Feed to GriffinChris Paul picks up the loose ball and dishes to Blake Griffin off the backboard for the alley-oop jam.
LACtv Preview: Clippers at PelicansClippers begin their final multi-game road trip of the season Wednesday at New Orleans.
DeAndre Jordan Talks Defense on Inside StuffDeAndre Jordan models his tenacious defensive style after one of the league's legends. Check out more from DeAndre this Saturday on Inside Stuff.
|Chris Paul and Blake Griffin Named to 2014 All-NBA Team June 04, 2014||Chris Paul All-Defensive First Team June 02, 2014||Spirit Dance Team: Clippers vs. Thunder | Game 6 | 5/15/2014 May 16, 2014||Game Action: Clippers vs. Thunder: Game 6 | 5/15/2014 May 16, 2014|
|Clippers vs. Thunder: Game 6 | 5/15/2014 May 15, 2014||Game 5 | Clippers vs. Thunder | 5/13/2014 May 13, 2014|
By: Ben Haber | Follow @HaberBen
The Clippers road trip began with minor turbulence, falling to the Pelicans, 98-96, in New Orleans.
Los Angeles (50-22) will look to get back on track against the Mavericks on Thursday. The Mavericks (43-29) arguably had their signature performance Tuesday, defeating the Thunder, 128-119. Kevin Durant scored 43 points, but Dirk Nowitzki’s 32 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and four rebounds prevailed.
Both teams are playing with an extreme sense of urgency. The Clippers are trying to at least hold ground at third in the Western Conference, one game ahead of the Rockets, and hope to surpass the Thunder (2.5 games behind) at No. 2. The Mavericks Playoff aspirations are up in the air, tied with the Suns for the final spot in the West.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH ON PRIME TICKET
- The Mavericks are lethal at 3-point shooting, owning the No. 3 rate at 38.2 percent. Nowitzki may be 35 years old and in his 15th season, but he is still connecting on 38.7 percent of long balls, slightly above his career average. Jose Calderon comes in with the fifth highest 3-point percentage in the NBA at 45.5. The Clippers combat the Mavericks sharp shooting by defending the long ball better than any other team. Still, the Mavericks went 24-for-53 (45.2 percent) from downtown in their earlier clashes with the Clippers.
- Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan will have a tough assignment against the Dallas frontcourt, headlined by Nowitzki and Samuel Dalembert. The Mavericks’ big guys average 65.1 points per game, ranking No. 3 in the NBA. On Jan. 3, Nowitzki, Dalembert and Co. tallied 51 points against the Clippers, and then bounced back to score 68 in the Jan. 15 encounter.
- The Clippers’ struggles at the free throw line are well documented, yet deceiving. Los Angeles only makes 73.0 percent of their looks from the charity stripe, and only four teams convert less. However, the Clippers connect on 21 freebies per game, putting them at third in the NBA. To put that into perspective, the Mavericks are No. 3 in this category at 79.8 percent, but nail only 17.2 free throws.
The Clippers can clinch the season series over the Mavericks with a win Thursday. They won the previous two matchups out of the four scheduled and close the series next week in Los Angeles… Jordan had a career-high 25 points against the Mavericks on Jan. 3, 2014… Monta Ellis is shooting 45.6 percent from the field, which is better than any of his previous six seasons… Nowitzki is back up to 21.4 points per game in 2013-14 after notching 17.3 in 2012-13… Griffin is seeking to score 20 points in a row for the 31st straight game… The Clippers are 19-17 on the road…
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Jamal Crawford: “After games like this the next game can’t come quick enough. For us, we have an opportunity tomorrow. They’re playing well. They just beat OKC at home and they’re fighting for their playoff lives as well. So, it will be a tough one.”
LAC: J.J. Redick (back) will sit out his 22nd straight game
DAL: None reported
REGULAR SEASON HISTORY
All Time: 51-85 (Home: 32-36, Road: 19-49)
Current Overall Streak: Won 2
Road Streak: Won 1
Last Win: Jan. 3, 2014 (119-112)
Last Loss: Mar. 26, 2013 (102-109)
Largest Margin of Victory:
Road: 31 (117-86), Mar. 8, 1992
Largest Margin of Defeat:
Road: 32 (2) (83-115), Dec. 22, 2006
Jan. 3, 2014 at American Airlines Center: Clippers 119, Mavericks 112
Jan. 15, 2014 at Staples Center: Clippers 129, Mavericks 127
Mar. 27, 2014 at American Airlines Center
Apr. 3, 2014 at Staples Center
LAST TIME OUT
Pts: Crawford 31