|CLIPPERS WIN SIXTH IN A ROW |
- ERIC PATTEN @ericpatten
LOS ANGELES–Randy Foye couldn’t miss a shot and the Dallas Mavericks could hardly make one.
The Clippers, led by Foye’s 28 points, dominated the defending NBA champions Monday with a 94-75 victory at American Airlines Center, extending their win streak to six games.
It’s the first win for the Clippers (32-21) in Dallas since April 2006 and the first time they’ve won as many as six in a row in 20 years. It also served as a pseudo playoff game. The Mavericks (30-24) fell to 2.5 games behind the fourth-place Clippers and L.A. owns the tiebreaker after taking the season series, 2-1.
“We just got stops defensively and got out in transition and got some easy buckets,” Blake Griffin said of the Clippers’ start. “That led to jump starting our offense for us. When that happens, we’ve got a lot of scorers and it’s tough to start.”
Point guard Jason Kidd (groin) and reserve forward Lamar Odom (illness) missed the game for Dallas, which shot just 39% from the field and had 33 points in the first half, four off a season low. Super-sub Mo Williams was absent from his sixth game in row for the Clippers with a sprained left big toe.
Difference Maker: Foye. The shooting guard has found his rhythm of late, stringing together three of his best games as Clipper between Friday and Monday. Against the Mavericks he tied Quentin Richardson’s franchise record with eight made 3-pointers and seemingly hit an important shot from behind the arc whenever L.A. needed it.
With Dallas slicing the Clipper lead to 14 on six consecutive points in the fourth quarter, Foye connected from the left wing to quell the run. Two possessions later, Foye was left alone on the wing and nailed another one, silencing the partisan crowd that had been energized by a Jason Terry layup.
Turning Point: The Clippers have struggled throughout the year in the second quarter, averaging 22.8 points per game (26th in the league), overcame a brief shooting slump to extend an eight point lead to 14 before halftime. They scored just 22 points, but frustrated Dallas in the passing lanes, including forcing four steals. Eric Bledsoe and Kenyon Martin keyed the Clippers defensively, while Nick Young made three baskets in a row during one stretch, a layup, a tough jumper over Jason Terry, and a 3-pointer.
Stat Line of the Night: Foye. He went 10-of-19 from the field, including 8-for-15 from 3-point range, for a season-high 28 points. He also had three rebounds and two of the Clippers’ 10 steals.
“[Foye] was just feeling it, obviously,” Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro said. “But, we got him in some rhythm. They went zone; they lost him a few times on that left wing - they load up so much on Chris [Paul] and Blake [Griffin].”
More Stats: Blake Griffin. Griffin notched his 33rd double-double of the season and helped stymie any chance of a Mavericks rally with a monster put back dunk and a spinning bank shot in the fourth quarter. He finished with 15 points and 16 rebounds and made seven of his 11 field goal attempts.
Dirk Nowitzki. The future Hall of Famer started the game making his first four shots, but cooled down considerably after that. He had 19 points to lead Dallas and was one of only two Mavericks in double figures (Jason Terry had 15 off the bench).
Eric Bledsoe. The second-year point guard entered the game for Paul at the start of the second quarter and promptly created havoc. He had eight points, two rebounds, an assist and a steal in over eight minutes of the quarter and wound up with nine points and four rebounds, including a sensational offensive rebound in which he out-jumped two Dallas players to tip the ball back out to Paul in the fourth quarter.
Hot: The Clippers in the first quarter, again. They opened the game Monday making 10 of their first 14 shots, two nights after shooting 68.2% in the first quarter. Caron Butler, Randy Foye, and Blake Griffin each scored at least six points and DeAndre Jordan added four by tipping in missed shots from the perimeter.
Not: Shawn Marion and Vince Carter. The wings for the Mavericks combined to shoot 3-for-15 and managed seven points. Carter missed both of his 3-point attempts and was uncharacteristically 1-for-3 from the free-throw line.
On the importance of Monday’s game:
Randy Foye: “It was important because if we lost, they would have been right there on us. I think this game gave us a little bit of space to be separated a little bit.”
On looking ahead towards a possible matchup with Dallas in the postseason:
Caron Butler: “We just want to win games and control our own destiny. Your mind set, your psyche, you want to win a game in this building. This is a great confidence boost for us.”
On what worked well for the Clippers:
Vinny Del Negro: “I thought we did a good job on the glass, limited them as much as possible, and really the transition where they feed off of was big for us – we controlled them there. They got some late, but overall that was the key for us.”
On the Mavericks’ shooting woes:
Rick Carlisle: “We struggled. The first half we had a lot of good shots that didn’t go in. Some of the problem was them; they’ve got big guys that cover the rim well. When you stink, you stink and we’ve got to bounce back.”
Notes: The Clippers made 11 of their 32 3-point attempts. It’s the third time they’ve made at least 10 threes against Dallas this season… Rookie Trey Thompkins played the final three minutes and scored four points on 2-of-2 shooting… Martin, playing in his hometown, had two points, five rebounds, and three steals as well as playing solid defensively against Nowitzki… Paul had 10 assists, bringing his four-game total to 45… The Clippers turned the ball over four times in the first six minutes and only six more times the rest of the night… They are 11 games over .500 for the first time since 2006.
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