The Dallas Mavericks have battled the Clippers well throughout this season. In the three previous heading into Wednesday night, they held a 2-1 series lead over LA, and had won the last two matchups. But with the season essentially over, and lottery standing on the line, the Mavs seem to have accepted their fate, and made a move towards higher draft position here, as they fell to the Clippers 112-101.
Lets get the statistical analysis out of the way.
Harrison Barnes and J.J. Barea were the Mavs leading scorers, with 15 and 14 points respectively, while Yogi Ferrell added 14 of his own, and Salah Mejri added 10 points and nine boards off the bench.
In 28 minutes, Dirk Nowitzki added nine points on 4-of-11 shooting, and Wes Matthews had 11 points, five boards and and six assists, while going 3-of-4 from downtown.
Nico Brussino, who continues to look like he might belong, finished with nine points on 3-of-7 shooting, and also showed his athleticism with a nice chase-down block on J.J. Redick.
The Clippers, who are coveting first-round home court standing in the playoff race, were topped by the usual stars.
Blake Griffin led the way with 32 points, while Chris Paul had 22 points and 11 assists (while dealing with the challenge of a feisty Yogi), and Redick addied 25 points on 6-of-14 from the field. DeAndre Jordan was his usual dominant rebound presence, pulling down 20 boards and scoring 11 points.
Said Mavs coach Rick Carlisle: “They’re really good. ... Not many people are talking about them, but they’re a contending team. They’ve got a lot of weapons.”
Ok, now for the important stuff.
With Wednesday night’s loss, the Mavs (32-46) move down to just half a game above the Minnesota Timberwolves (31-46), and one game ahead of Sacramento (31-47). With four games left, the Mavs have a legit opportunity to move ahead of both teams in lottery standing for the seventh spot in the draft.
Minnesota, which was off on Wednesday, has a date with the same Portland Trailblazers team that they defeated just a couple of days ago, and has a matchup with the lowly Los Angeles Lakers still remaining on the schedule.
Sacramento, meanwhile, still has dates with the Phoenix Suns and the Lakers remaining on the docket, and have actually won four out of their last six games.
As for the Mavs, while they do have a date with Phoenix (against whom they are 1-2 this season), they also have matchups with the Spurs, Nuggets and Grizzlies remaining. If things go as they have been trending over the final four games, Dallas will have every chance to sitting in the seven spot come lottery night on May 16.
At any rate, and despite the opponent, the Mavs will happy to return home on Friday night to face the San Antonio Spurs after a long five-game road trip that has had them on the road since March 29.