Recap: Mavs' turnovers play perfectly into Clippers' hands to start road trip
Earl K. Sneed reports from Los Angeles and recaps the Dallas Mavericks' lopsided loss to the Clippers, after the Mavs began their three-game road trip in disappointing fashion.
Recap: Mavericks 90 at Clippers 112
Mavs' turnovers play perfectly into Clippers' hands to start road trip
Facing the Clippers for the first time since a four-team trade this offseason that sent forward Lamar Odom to L.A., the Mavericks looked to build off Saturday night’s 92-77 home victory over Detroit to end a three-game losing streak. Meanwhile, center Chris Kaman returned to face his former team for the first time since being dealt to New Orleans last season in exchange for point guard Chris Paul.
But despite scoring in double figures, Kaman’s return to his old stomping grounds would not be a memorable one. And after continuing a trend of costly turnovers during a 112-90 defeat, the Mavericks (8-10) began their three-game road trip with a lopsided loss.
With the Clippers (12-6) riding a three-game winning streak and opening the game on a 7-0 run, the visiting Mavs would find themselves down quickly despite the best efforts of forward Shawn Marion. And with All-Star big man Blake Griffin’s 11 points and four rebounds in the opening period leading the way, the Clippers slid into the second stanza with a 29-18 advantage.
Once matters shifted into the hands of the reserves, however, the Mavs would begin the second quarter on a 9-0 spurt of their own to charge back into the game. At the center of the run would be the play of sixth man Vince Carter, as the eight-time All-Star began to assert himself on the offensive end.
But the Clippers would rally with highlight reel finishes off Dallas' turnovers to regain the momentum after the Mavs closed to within two, before a 3-pointer and a four-point play by Jamal Crawford on back-to-back possessions was followed by another triple later in the period to up the L.A. lead to as much as 20. The home team then escaped into the halftime intermission with a 60-42 advantage.
Taking advantage of four scorers in double figures in the first 24 minutes of action, the Clippers outshot the Mavs in the first half, 51 percent to 40.9 percent. Meanwhile, the Mavs struggled to protect the ball, committing 12 turnovers that led to 16 points at the other end for their opposition.
“They’re honestly one of the deepest teams in the league,” Marion said with a high level of respect for the Clippers. “They have a deep roster, but at the same time we had some good looks early in that first half and they were in and out. And then they hit some shots. We were able to close it in early, but our turnovers were our Achilles’ heel tonight. They made it a point where basically they were pressuring our guards and making them turn the ball over and getting what they want to do. They were out and getting into transition and getting the highlights.”
Collecting seven rebounds in the first half before getting inserted into the first unit over rookie forward Jae Crowder, ex-Clipper big man Elton Brand was the answer for Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle to begin the third quarter as he searched for help inside to match the Clippers’ clear size advantage. But it would be new addition Derek Fisher that would right the ship for the Mavs in the third as they tried to muster up a comeback attempt, shaking off his 1-of-8 debut on Saturday night to rain in shots from the outside.
Still, the Mavericks found themselves looking up to an 83-68 deficit entering the final 12 minutes of play.
“Fisher was I believe plus two in the game and that’s a very positive thing. It’s obvious he’s getting his legs and he kept himself in good shape before he was brought in, so that’s a building block. But we’ve got to have everybody doing good things and we weren’t there tonight,” Carlisle confessed.
It wouldn’t take long into the fourth before the game was once again out of control for the Mavs, as the Clippers’ bench further separated the two squads on the scoreboard while the L.A. starters rested. And after the Clippers reached their largest lead of the night at 24, Carlisle conceded the loss by pulling his main contributors midway through the quarter.
Leading the Mavs in a losing cause was Carter off the bench, scoring 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting and grabbing seven rebounds to boot.
In just his second game, Fisher added 15 points on 5-of-11 from the field and 3-of-5 from 3, while Kaman and Marion both pitched in 14 points in the first unit. Leading scorer O.J. Mayo made it five Mavs in double figures after scoring 11 points on just 4-of-12 shooting to go along with seven assists.
Meanwhile, Crawford also led his team in scoring off the bench with 20 points, while Griffin finished the night with 19 points on 8-of-13 from the floor to accompany 13 rebounds. And despite going just 2-of-7 against his former team, Odom overshadowed his four-point night by claiming 11 rebounds.
Led by Griffin inside, the Clippers amassed a 62-30 advantage in points in the paint and 29-22 margin in fast-break points. L.A. also overcame 18 turnovers by forcing 22 Dallas giveaways, which translated into 26 points for the Clippers. And with six Clippers scoring in double figures, the Mavs were outshot as a team, 50 percent to 40.5 percent, while also losing the rebounding battle, 49-41.
“I didn’t like the turnovers,” an emphatic Carlisle said of the loss. “I thought the turnovers keyed most of our problems. I know they’re a more physical team than us, and so I’ve been saying it consistently here for a number of weeks: everything we do we’ve got to do well collectively. And tonight we fragmented at the wrong time. We turned it over and it led to kind of an avalanche of problems. We got a little traction in the third quarter and that was good, but we couldn’t sustain, and so we’ve got to keep pushing forward and we’ve got to do better.”
“A team like that, who gambles and plays the passing lanes, you’re not going to beat them if you don’t take care of the ball,” Carter echoed. “We gave them extra possessions and let them do what they do best — get in transition. So, I think it bit us in the [tail] in the second half and the score showed it.”
The Mavs will now continue their road trip on the second night of a back-to-back, touching down in Phoenix for a nationally-televised matchup Thursday against the Suns. The game will air nationally on TNT and locally on Fox Sports Southwest at 9:30 p.m. CT.
“We’ve gotta take this and learn from it,” Marion said while shifting his attention to Thursday night. “We can’t sit here and dwell on this too much, we’ve got to play one tomorrow. But it’s frustrating right now. It’s a tough loss to come in here and be embarrassed like that on national TV.”