Five Takeaways: Shorthanded Clippers Fall To Mavericks, 90-88
LOS ANGELES – A back-and-forth finish didn’t go the Clippers’ way in their first game without both Chris Paul and Blake Griffin this season, as Harrison Barnes sent the Mavericks (9-21) past the Clippers (22-9) in the final seconds.
Here are five quick takeaways from the Clippers’ 90-88 loss.
1) Paul out, Felton starts – Raymond Felton earned his second start of the season, as Chris Paul missed his first game of the year with a strained left hamstring, leaving the Clippers without both Blake Griffin (knee) and Paul. Head coach Doc Rivers said before the game he doesn’t believe it’s a severe hamstring strain, and it’s possible Paul could play the next time the Clippers take the floor, but that’s no certainty. Rivers went with Felton, who played for the Mavericks the past two seasons. Felton’s a player Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle wishes was still around. “I told Doc that if he could get him on the team, he should get him on the team,” Carlisle said before the game. “He’s a winner. He’s the ultimate pro, always ready, great competitor.”
2) Season highs for Crawford – Jamal Crawford’s shot was on Friday night, finishing with a season-high 26 points, including a 3-pointer to break a tie with five minutes left and a jumper to give the Clippers the lead with 3:17 left. It was also a notable night as a distributor for Crawford, who finished with a season-high six assists.
3) Rivers goes deep, leaves, returns from deep – Austin Rivers had six threes in his first matchup against the Mavericks this year. He was halfway there by halftime, but left briefly in the second half. He returned in the fourth quarter and hit a 3-pointer with a minute and a half left to break a tie. Rivers finished with 16 points, going 4-for-6 from long distance.
4) Turnovers costly – While the long range shot was saving the Clippers, who finished 13-for-29 from deep, turnovers were burying them. The Clippers had turned the ball over 19 times, leading to 20 Mavericks points, when the 20th turnover did them in. The three-point lead in the final two minutes after Rivers’ 3-pointer evaporated after a Dwight Powell dunk and 1-of-2 free throws made by Wesley Matthews. DeAndre Jordan, who had seven points and 17 rebounds on the night, then missed two free throws, Harrison Barnes hit the go-ahead jumper with three seconds left. That gave the Clippers one last chance, but the 20th turnover happened as the Mavericks stripped Rivers after the baseline inbounds pass.
5) Streaks snapped – The Clippers entered the night as the only team in the NBA undefeated in both the front end and back end of back-to-backs this year (11-0). That streak was snapped with Barnes’ game-winner, as was the Clippers’ two-game winning streak entering the night.
What’s Next? – The Clippers play the Lakers on Christmas Night. The Clippers beat the Lakers, 94-84, on Christmas last year.