The Dallas Mavericks edged the LA Clippers 90-88 Friday night at STAPLES Center, avenging a 124-104 loss in Dallas from Thanksgiving Eve. The Clippers were 14-2 on Thanksgiving – they’re only 8-7 since, with 6 of those 7 losses coming to teams under .500.
Top Performer: Mavericks SG Wesley Matthews didn’t shoot well from anywhere (6-of-16 FGs, 1-of-8 threes, 3-of-6 FTs), but the Mavericks didn’t win this game because of their offense. Matthews locked up on defense for Dallas’ second straight victory, grabbing 6 rebounds and coming away with 3 steals.
X-Factor: Dallas had 13 steals and forced 20 turnovers by the Clippers and scored 20 points off of them. Compare that to only 12 Dallas turnovers, of which LA converted into only 6 points. In a game that came down to the last possession, that was the biggest difference. The turnovers allowed Dallas to take 13 more field goals on a night where they shot only 42.5 percent from the field compared to LA shooting 45.9 percent.
Major Moment: If you let a team hang around, then stuff like this happens:
HARRISON. BARNES. pic.twitter.com/kL6uSh5IkP
— Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) December 24, 2016
Mavericks SF Harrison Barnes scored 24 points on 11-of-19 shooting from the field, including the go-ahead basket over Clippers SF Luc Mbah a Moute with 3.7 seconds left and the Clippers out of timeouts. The Clippers would turn it over for the 20th time after Austin Rivers lost the ball at midcourt as time expired.
The Clippers were held to 5 total points in the last 5 minutes of the game. Here’s how all of those possessions went:
– J.J. Redick missed three (his only shot attempt of the 4th quarter)
– Raymond Felton missed three (his only shot attempt of the 4th quarter as he filled in for an injured Chris Paul)
– Jamal Crawford floater (his last made basket of game, 3:18 left)
– Crawford turnover
– Crawford missed jumper
– Rivers go-ahead three-pointer (his 4th of the game, and Clippers last points of the game, up 88-85 with 1:38 left)
– Crawford turnover
– Crawford missed three (last time Clippers had ball with lead, up 88-87 with 33.9 seconds left)
– DeAndre Jordan misses two free throws with game tied at 88, 27.4 seconds left (Jordan had no other field goal or free throw attempts in 4th quarter)
– Rivers turnover as time expired (after Barnes go-ahead field goal)
10 possessions – 5 points. It was a dreadful 4th quarter in general for LA, as they had 7 turnovers and only 2 assists in the final period. Crawford (game-high 26 points, 10-of-16 FGs) and Rivers (16 points, 4-of-6 threes) scored 14 of the team’s 16 points in the period, so you can see that Dallas did a great job of keeping anyone else from getting involved late.
Key Lineup: The Mavericks only had C Dirk Nowitzki available for just under 15 minutes in the 1st half, but he made those minutes count, dropping 17 points on 7-of-12 FGs. Dallas went with a lineup of Seth Curry with starters Nowitzki, Barnes, Matthews, and PG Deron Williams for three minutes in the 2nd quarter, and they smoked the Clippers 12-2. The Clippers could’ve created some real separation in the 2nd quarter, but they instead lost the lead. Neither team led by double digits in this game.
As for the Clippers, they had a 16.7 net rating in 11 minutes with the starting lineup of Felton, Redick, Mbah a Moute, Paul Pierce, and Jordan. However, that lineup didn’t see a minute in the 4th quarter. The same lineup with Crawford in for Pierce compiled a -72.3 net rating in 6 minutes.
The Definition: The only thing the Clippers did well was shoot threes in this game – they were out-rebounded, lost the turnover battle, and made fewer field goals and free throws than Dallas overall.
I could care less about threes if you can’t do the other things well enough to complement them. LA made only 21-of-45 field goals (46.7 percent) from the field inside the arc. That was a season-low attempts, and the 5th-lowest percentage of the season. Against a team starting Nowitzki at C! Jordan actually led the team in touches for the game with 73, but he also led the team with 60 passes – none of which led to assists! (Jordan did have 2 of the team’s 3 secondary assists on the night.) This was a missed opportunity for the Clippers, and injury wasn’t an excuse. Dallas hung around and eventually took advantage of LA’s 3rd 20-turnover game of the season, giving LA their first loss of the season on the second night of a back-to-back.