One night before a huge game with the Lakers, Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle was hoping for a nice, stress-free warmup game with the Clippers.
However, because every game at this point of the season can be considered a “must-win”, he wasn’t able to get some of his older players, like Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd, some much-needed rest.
Instead, Nowitzki played 37 minutes and Kidd played 29, while Dallas had to use a third quarter surge and some late-game defense in order to dispatch the Clippers for the ninth-consecutive time 106-100.
Blake Griffin led the Clippers (as usual) with 25 points and 17 rebounds, but got very little help.
Mo Williams chipped in with 19 points, but his night was cut short after he drew consecutive technical fouls for arguing with officials and was subsequently ejected with six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
Eric Gordon finished with 15 points, but wasn’t much of a factor in the game at all. He shot just 4-18 from the field, including 0-6 from three-point range. The length of the Mavericks’ win defenders was clearly frustrating him, and he seemed out-of-sorts all night long.
Nowitzki led the Mavericks with 24 points on 9-19 shooting, but the real difference for Dallas was the play of reserve guard Jose Juan Barea.
The Clippers weren’t quick enough to keep up with Barea, generously listed at 5’11″. He scored 22 points in just 21 minutes off-the-bench, and buried a back-breaking three-pointer from the corner with just under three minutes to play that stifled a late Clippers run.
Barea is averaging a little over nine points per game on the season.
The Clippers dominated this game on the glass, outrebounding Dallas by a margin of 47-31. However, due in large part to the ineffectiveness of Gordon, their three-point shooting was abysmal. L.A. shot just 5-24 from beyond-the-arc, while Dallas hit on nine of their 21 attempts.
Barea, Peja Stojakovic and Brian Cardinal provided boosts off-the-bench, and combined to shoot 7-10 on three-pointers.
Randy Foye helped pick up some of Gordon’s offensive slack with 12 points in a reserve role, but Barea was his defensive responsibility for most of the fourth quarter. Foye and Gordon were on the floor together more than usual, as backup point guard Eric Bledsoe logged just two minutes of action.
The Clippers will head to Phoenix to take on the slumping Suns Friday evening.
About the Author
Written by Taylor Smith
Taylor Smith is a writer for the Los Angeles Clippers.