Five Takeaways: Griffin's 32 points allow Clippers to roll past Mavericks
LOS ANGELES - The Clippers captured their fourth consecutive win and the eighth in the past 10 games with a 112-101 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday at Staples Center. Blake Griffin scored a game-high 32 points with six assists and four rebounds for the Clippers.
J.J. Redick contributed 25 points, hitting 5 of 8 from 3-point range, Chris Paul added 22 points and 11 assists and DeAndre Jordan collected 20 rebounds to go with 11 points.
“They carried the load. They were fantastic,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said.
The win allowed the Clippers to split the season series with the Mavericks and end a two-game losing streak to them.
The Clippers never trailed, jumping out to a 34-25 lead after one quarter and grabbing a 62-49 advantage at the break. The Mavericks made several runs throughout the contest, but each time the Clippers turned them back. Dallas pulled within six in the third quarter, but got no closer.
“I give them a lot of credit,” Rivers said of the Mavericks, who already have been eliminated from the postseason. “A lot of teams in their position, the way we jumped out, would have gone away, and they kept fighting.”
Quote of the Night
Chris Paul on the play of Griffin: “He’s just been crazy aggressive, crazy efficient. “He’s just been our beast, that’s what we call him and stuff like that, so we are going to keep feeding him.”
Another Hot Start
Like they did Saturday against the Lakes, the Clippers roared out of the gate against the Mavericks. They made their initial nine shots, 3 of those from long distance, for a 22-6 lead less than five minutes into the contest.
“I loved the start again,” Rivers said. “I loved how we came out and defended. I love our pace right now of play. I think we lose it some time, but overall I liked the pace and ball movement.”
Overall, the Clippers shot 50.7 percent from the floor and 38.7 percent from 3-point range to 44.2 percent and 35.5 percent for the Mavericks.
The Chase for Homecourt Advantage
The Clippers closed within a half-game of the idle Utah Jazz with three games remaining in their bid for the fourth seed in the Western Conference. The Jazz have four contests left, beginning Friday at home against the Minnesota Timberwolves before playing the second end of a back-to-back on Saturday at Portland.
After the Clippers’ game at San Antonio on Saturday, they close out the regular season with contests against the Houston Rockets on Monday and the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday.
It’s All About Pace
The Clippers outscored the Mavericks 17-0 in the first half on fastbreak points and 22-7 overall. Rivers said the edge was crucial in the outcome. “That’s huge,” Rivers said. “When you have one fastbreak point against them the last time and you lose by two points, eight the other time, the one (previous Clippers) win was 25 points, so it was good that they got the message. We worked on it for two days and then we came out and did it.”
Clippers forward Paul Pierce and Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki were on opposing clubs for the final meeting of their NBA careers. Pierce is retiring at the end of the season, while Nowitzki says he will return for his 20th and final NBA campaign.
Nowitzki finished with nine points. Pierce did not play.
Pierce and Nowitzki are two of the three players remaining from the 1998 NBA Draft. Grizzlies forward Vince Carter is the other one. Milwaukee selected Nowitzki with the No. 9 pick before trading him to Dallas, where he has played his entire career. Boston took Pierce with the No. 10 selection.
Clipper fans probably don’t need to be reminded that the club took Michael Olowokandi with the first pick of the ’98 draft.
Like A Rolling Stone
Griffin has scored at least 30 points in the past three games. Griffin is averaging 33 points per game during that stretch. In his last two games, Griffin has connected on 23 of 29 shots.
The Clippers have two days off before facing the Spurs in San Antonio on Saturday in their final road game of the regular season. The Clippers have won two of the three previous meetings, but lost 105-97 in the last contest on Feb. 24 at Staples Center. It was the first game back for Paul, who missed 14 games after undergoing thumb surgery. Paul finished with 17 points. Griffin led the Clippers with 29 points.