Skip to content

Mavericks beat Clippers, move close to playoffs… and a shave

Mar 27, 2013, 3:01 AM EST

Dirk Nowitzki, Matt Barnes AP

One more win and the Dallas Mavericks will reach .500 — and they can shave their beards. You remember, the ones they were going to grow until they got their record even, a process that has taken so long the team starting to look like a young ZZ Top? It’s almost time for razors soon, they earned it.

More importantly, Dallas is now one game back of the Lakers for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West (the Mavs and Utah are exactly tied for that spot). Dallas’ streak of a dozen years in a row in the playoffs is not dead yet.

All that comes after a gritty 109-102 overtime win against the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday night. While the Lakers and Jazz stumble to the finish line, the Mavericks have won three in a row, 9-of-12 and suddenly it may be time to fear the beards out West.

Dirk Nowitzki scored 8 of his 33 points in the overtime to push Dallas to the win. It came on a night the best European player the NBA has ever seen passed Patrick Ewing to move into 17th on the NBA all-time scoring list. Dirk was Dirk again, knocking down one-legged fade-aways and generally being indefensible.

Chris Paul was Chris Paul, too — and then some. He was amazing, scoring the Clippers last 10 points in regulation despite Dallas starting to double him 30 feet from the basket. He was making plays all night on his way to 33 points (on 12-of-15 shooting).

And it wasn’t enough, because in the clutch the Clippers didn’t get enough defense, enough threes (the Clippers missed their 13), and CP3 didn’t get enough help.

This game was pretty close most of the way, one team would make a run them the other, but neither side could really pull away. And all that set up a dramatic last few minutes of regulation.

Inside three minutes left the Clippers were up three after Paul hit a pull-up 18 footer over Mike James. Then after Blake Griffin drew a charge the Mavericks tried to take the ball out of Chris Paul’s hand by doubling hin 30 feet from the basket, so he found the open man — but Matt Barnes and Caron Butler missed threes. Next trip down Butler missed another three. Barnes would later airball a three. The Clippers had their chances and didn’t grab them.

So O.J. Mayo did, getting the and-1 bucket to tie the game at 93-93 with 1:15 left in regulation. Dallas took the lead on some Vince Carter free throws but Paul tied it again with a floater in the lane. And now we are inside 40 seconds.

With time getting close Paul gave the Clippers the lead when he drove around Shawn Marion (6’7”) and shot over Elton Brand (6’8″) putting the Clippers up by two. Mayo answered, looking trapped on the baseline but he held his dribble, found and opening and put up a nice lefty layup from behind the backboard.

Then came the last play, where with 0.6 Matt Barnes threw a three-quarter court strike to Griffin who hit an impossible faller — except the refs blew Griffin for pushing off Nowitzki to create room for the shot. Borderline call. At best. Dirk helped draw the whistle by selling it with a little flop.

Then came overtime and a lot of Nowitzki.

Dallas is in the middle of their tough stretch, beating a quality team like the Clippers is a huge step toward the playoffs.

For the Clippers, this is the kind of game that has you asking about changes they need to make this summer — role players, coach and system — to take the next step and do more than just win a round in the playoffs. We’re all asking that because right now we’re not even sure they can match last season’s results and get out of the first round in the postseason. Not when they play like this. And if they are out before the conference finals, expect changes to follow.

Latest Posts
  1. Five Things We Learned in NBA Thursday: The Cavaliers we expected have arrived

    Feb 27, 2015, 2:55 AM EST

    LeBron James AP

    If you had any doubts about the Cavs, they answered them.

  2. LeBron drops season-high 42 as Cavaliers comfortably handle Warriors (VIDEO)

    Feb 27, 2015, 12:55 AM EST

    LeBron James AP

    LeBron looked at Stephen Curry across the way and decided to make his own MVP statement.

  3. Rip Hamilton finally, formally announced retirement

    Feb 26, 2015, 8:15 PM EST

    Rip Hamilton

    Yes it’s a little late in coming, but it’s worth remembering what a quality player he was.

  4. Derrick Rose scheduled for surgery Friday, will have all or part of meniscus removed

    Feb 26, 2015, 5:45 PM EST

    Derrick Rose Derrick Rose

    He is having all or part of the meniscus removed, which makes for a faster recovery.

  5. Reports: Kings’ Darren Collison to have surgery, likely done for season

    Feb 26, 2015, 5:00 PM EST

    Golden State Warriors v Sacramento Kings Getty Images

    While in theory he could return for a few games, in practice that’s not going to happen.

  6. Heat sign Michael Beasley to 10-day contract

    Feb 26, 2015, 1:11 PM EST

    San Antonio Spurs v Miami Heat - 2014 NBA Finals Game Three Getty Images

    This will be Beasley’s third stint with Miami

  7. Would Rajon Rondo leave the Mavericks for the Lakers?

    Feb 26, 2015, 12:29 PM EST

    Los Angeles Lakers v Dallas Mavericks Getty Images

    Reports emerging Rondo ‘unlikely’ to re-sign with Dallas

  8. This is the fear: Is Derrick Rose on his way to the Penny Hardaway, Bill Walton club?

    Feb 26, 2015, 11:12 AM EST

    Chicago Bulls' Derrick Rose waits for the start of a media interview at the start of the team's training camp at the Berto Arena in Chicago, Illinois Reuters

    It’s too early to say with Rose what hs legacy will be.

Featured video

Is Derrick Rose the next Penny Hardaway?
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. K. Durant (7926)
  2. S. Curry (7123)
  3. D. Rose (6960)
  4. M. Carter-Williams (6908)
  5. D. Howard (6839)
  1. P. George (6448)
  2. C. Bosh (6226)
  3. A. Davis (5797)
  4. B. Beal (5640)
  5. K. Olynyk (5309)