Mavs Cut By Clippers, 120-100
Clippers 120, Dallas Mavericks 100 might end up as evidence of how the Mavs - despite their lofty West perch -- might not, in the end, match up very well against other West powers.
And LA is a power, having won their sixth game in eight outings and second in a row. More urgently, this Saturday matinee is the Clippers’ eighth win in their last 11 games against the Mavericks. But most concerning of all: In recent bouts between these two teams, Dallas made a habit of looking like the better club for three quarters before being swamped late.
There was no "Dallas-is-the-better-club'' impression left here.
“Well, we’re playing better teams the last two games, and we’ve got to elevate our game,” coach Rick Carlisle said, reflecting on consecutive losses to Detroit and the Clippers that follow six straight wins. "Today we had another bad day. And so we’ve got to pick it up, because these games are difficult because they are a long ways from home, the venues are very tough and the teams are good.”
Dirk Nowitzki managed 25 points and Monta Ellis 23, but they had too little consistent support. One of the puzzles that continues to need to be solved is Rajon Rondo as a scorer, when the opportunity presents itself. Here, Rondo had eight assists but was held to just two points.
Dallas (26-11) found itself overcome by the 25-12 Clips with minutes left in the first half. The Clippers’ biggest lead was eight, but it's HOW it happened to intermission, when they outscored the Mavs 11-3 to end the half to lead 56-48 while limiting Dallas to one basket in the final 3:16 of the second quarter.
“We had a very poor ending to the second quarter ... and that cost us the game,” said Carlisle, who was ejected midway through the third after picking up his second technical ... a boot that was handled by a two-man ref crew after 63-year-old Joey Crawford departed in the second quarter with a right knee injury.
The Mavs had problems defending the three (the Clippers made 13 of them, a franchise record to this point in a season) and relied on mop-up threes late to make the score slightly less embarrassing.
The history here? Yes, the Chris Paul/Blake Griffin-led Clips usually overcome Dallas, but the previous six games had been drama-filled and decided by seven points or fewer. This game was decided much earlier than that, much easier than that.
“We gave up 120,'' Dirk said. "We gave up three 30-point quarters. It just puts too much pressure on your offense to go down there and score every time. And offensively I think we’re working on some stuff with Rondo and with the spacing and stuff. We’ve just got to keep getting better. We’ve got to keep getting better on both ends of the floor. We’ve still got a lot of work to do.”
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