Five Takeaways: Clippers rally past Mavericks to win late
LOS ANGELES — The Clippers scored the last 13 points of the game to comeback and beat the Mavericks, 104-101.
Here are five quick takeaways from the Clippers win.
Quote of the Night:
“Those last two hustle plays that Avery made by running a guy down and getting deflections, there’s three to four guys in the league that would have done that, and Avery is one of them.” — Doc Rivers
1) Bradley’s defense keeps Clippers in the game —
With the Clippers down one, Lou Williams missed a jumper and the Mavericks quickly pushed the ball on the fastbreak. A layup looked inevitable for Dallas rookie guard Dennis Smith Jr., but it was Avery Bradley who saved the game for the Clippers. Smith Jr. had a head start, but Bradley flew down the court in a full fledged sprint, poking the ball loose from behind for the basket saving steal. On the Mavericks next possession, with Dallas on the fastbreak again, Mavs forward Maxi Kleber drove one-on-one against Clippers forward Danilo Gallinari, but Bradley again ran from behind and aided in forcing a missed layup. Then, with a few seconds remaining and a jump ball, DeAndre Jordan won the tip, sending it into the backcourt to a streaking Bradley, who converted a layup for the final bucket of the game.
Bradley scored 12 points on 60 percent shooting, while also guarding Smith Jr. for the majority of the night, coercing the young Mavericks guard into a rough 5-of-17 shooting night.
2) Starting forwards provide scoring punch—
The two starting forwards for the Clippers stand approximately the same height and weigh nearly the same weight, and the two combined for 42 of the Clippers’ 97 points, becoming the team’s primary scoring options since the trade. Danilo Gallinari scored a team and season-high 28 points on only 13 shots. With 25 seconds remaining in the game, Gallinari collected the rebound and dribbled up the court, only to be fouled inexplicably by Smith Jr. Down one point, he calmly made both to arm the Clippers with a one-point lead of their own, which they never gave up. Gallinari made all six of his free throw attempts, meaning he’s 48 of 49 for the season, a shade under 98-percent.
Tobias Harris was the Clippers’ second-leading scorer, adding 19 points, along with 5 rebounds and 2 assists. In two games with the team, Harris is averaging 21.5 points on 48 percent shooting.
3) Back and forth first quarter —
For the first six minutes of the game, the Clippers’ offense played swift and decisive basketball, pushing the pace with conviction and making no wasted movements. The team totaled 20 points on 70 percent shooting, building a nine point lead. However, the Clippers went from unstoppable to unable to score, as the Mavericks then ripped off a 14-0 run to take a five point lead. The run ended with a lob from Lou Williams to DeAndre Jordan, and the Clippers were able to finish the quarter with a four point lead, ending with a Lou Williams buzzer beating three on the wing.
4) Matthews catches fire —
After every made three-pointer, Wesley Matthews celebrates with a bow and arrow mime, which he did seven times tonight, including four times in a four-minute span in the third quarter. The shooting guard entered tonight in a five-game slump, shooting only 20 percent from deep, but broke out of that slump tonight. When Matthews took over during the early stages of the third, the Mavericks went from down three to up six in a quick turnaround.
Matthews finished with 23 points, his sixth time scoring 20 or more this season. As for the rest of the Mavericks, Devin Harris scored 16 off the bench. Dirk Nowitzki added 12 points of his own.
5) Leading scorer turned passer —
Scoring 23.4 points per game, Lou Williams has become the main focus of opposing teams’ defense, usually receiving the best defender as a matchup, and another defender shading nearby. But, Lou’s learned to take the extra attention and manipulate it into opportunities for his teammates, averaging a career-high 5.2 assists per game. Tonight, Lou tallied seven assists in the first half alone, with more assists at the halfway mark than points.
Williams finished with 17 points and 8 assists, ending his streak of 14 straight games with 20-plus points off the bench.
What’s Next? — The Clippers head to Detroit to see Blake Griffin and the Pistons Friday at 4:00 pm PST.