Mavs Rout Clippers for Fourth Straight
Dallas 101, L.A. Clippers 81
LOS ANGELES, Jan. 20 (Ticker) -- Every early basket seemed to have a little something extra for the Dallas Mavericks.
The Mavericks converted six three-point plays in the first 13 minutes as they raced to a huge lead and cruised to their fourth straight win, a 101-81 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers.
In the first quarter, the Mavericks had five three-point plays as they bolted to a 37-21 lead. The Clippers appeared a step slow on defense, which only made things easier for one of the NBA's best teams.
"How soft are we that they have six and-ones at the half?" Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. "What does that tell you about your mind-set? I don't like the way we are playing. It is just too soft." Three-point plays by Nowitzki and Jason Terry gave Dallas the lead for good at 13-7. A jumper and 3-pointer by Josh Howard pushed the advantage to 18-7 with just 5 1/2 minutes elapsed.
"Our game plan was to come out very aggressive," Terry said. "They are a team that has given us problems in the past. They have outworked us and out-physicaled us and tonight we wanted to do that to them." Nowitzki, Devin Harris and Dampier all converted three-point plays to make it 33-21 before baskets by Howard and Jerry Stackhouse capped the quarter. Dallas shot 60 percent (15-of-25) from the field and sank all five free throws - each coming after a made basket.
"I thought offensively we had everyone going well," Nowitzki said. "We were moving the ball and driving to the basket and got out in transition." Another three-point play by Dampier extended the margin to 42-21 one minute into the second period. The Mavericks led by 26 points before settling for a 63-39 halftime bulge.
"I think we put them back on their heels a little," Stackhouse said. "(Elton) Brand got into a little foul trouble and he is a big part of what they want to do." The Clippers closed to 83-70 early in the fourth quarter before jumpers by Nowitzki and Adrian Griffin triggered a clinching 14-2 surge that also featured the ejection of Terry for arguing with referees. "I just lost my cool a little bit," Terry said. "That is something I rarely do. I let it get the better of me but it was definitely a good call on his part, so go ahead and get me out of there."
Stackhouse scored 14 points, Harris added 13 and Terry and Griffin 10 apiece for the Mavericks, who shot 49 percent (39-of-79) and held a 44-33 advantage in rebounds as they improved to 15-6 on the road. Dallas has won 20 of 25 overall. "The sky is the limit for this team," Nowitzki said. "We have a deep bench, guys that can rebound and defend. I think we have all the ingredients that you need, but we still remember that we weren't on top of our game. This year, we want to keep working and working to get our game on top."
Sam Cassell scored 23 points and Brand added 19 and 10 boards for Los Angeles, which fell to 3-3 on its season-high seven-game homestand. "It's hard to come back against a really good team when you dig a deep hole," Dunleavy added. "We have to get our mind set. We have to quit feeling sorry for ourselves with guys being out with injuries and treat it as an opportunity to show the coach I'm going to work my butt off."