Clippers beat Mavs 112-90 for 4th straight win
The starters got off to a strong start, then had a front-row seat for the show near the end of the Clippers' fourth consecutive victory.Blake Griffin had 19 points and 13 rebounds, and Chris Paul added 14 points and 13 assists in Los Angeles' 112-90 win over the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night.Jamal Crawford had 20 points, Caron Butler scored 16 and DeAndre Jordan 12 for the Clippers, who shot 50 percent and dominated the entire game, keeping excitable Dallas owner Mark Cuban glued to his seat with his chin cupped in his left hand.It was the opposite of Monday night's win in Utah, when the Los Angeles starters fell behind by 13 points in the first quarter and 14 points in the third before rallying for a late win."Our biggest thing is that we need to get off to good starts and a lot of that has to do with me," Paul said. "A lot of the guys have been telling me that I need to be more aggressive, that I'm letting guys off the hook."Vince Carter scored 16 points off the bench. Derek Fisher added 15 points, and Shawn Marion and Chris Kaman had 14 points apiece for the Mavericks, who fell to 2-7 on the road."It's a tough loss, to come in here and be embarrassed like that, especially at the end of the game when they were playing around throwing lobs back and forth," Marion said. "We've got to take this and learn from it."The game brought together past and present for the Clippers. Lamar Odom had four points and 11 rebounds in his first game against Dallas since he spent a lost season there that ended with Cuban cutting him loose in March. He was traded to the Clippers in June."Just another game," Odom said. " Just focus, whatever it takes to win I'm going to do."The Clippers' former front line of Elton Brand and Chris Kaman, who helped them get within a game of the 2006 Western Conference finals, combined for 28 points for the Mavs.Los Angeles' second unit came on in the fourth, with Crawford and Matt Barnes combining to score 21 of their 28 points in the period."We always talk about the starters being able to sit in the fourth quarter," Griffin said, "to be up enough and not have to play."The reserves showed they could put on a show, too, with Crawford setting up a reverse dunk for Eric Bledsoe, who then dunked on the Clippers' next possession, drawing cheers from the fans who bothered to stick around for garbage time."I don't think it was rubbing it in," Carter said. "`It wasn't anything that was done maliciously. The plays were there for them."The Mavs never managed a late run against a team they had won nine of their previous 12 against in Los Angeles."We tried to make a run there, but we weren't able to get stops when we needed to," Marion said.The Clippers built their second-largest lead of 22 points early in the third. Fisher, who signed with the Mavs last week, keyed a 15-5 run with three 3-pointers, reminiscent of his big shots while helping the Lakers win multiple NBA titles."I'm just looking forward to be as helpful as possible with this team," Fisher said. "There's a lot of young guys, but we do have some potential."But the Mavs couldn't muster another sustained run the rest of the period and trailed 83-68 going into the fourth.Dallas opened the second quarter on a 9-0 run, including seven by Carter that drew them within two points. But the Clippers responded with an offensive flurry, going on a 26-8 run to stretch their lead to 18 points. The spurt was punctuated by a variety of dunks from Jordan and Griffin, and three consecutive 3-pointers, two by Crawford.Crawford made one more 3-pointer off Griffin's pass to keep Los Angeles ahead 60-42 at halftime.The Clippers led by 11 points in the opening quarter, when they shot 50 percent and held the Mavs to 36 percent shooting.Notes: F Dirk Nowitzki is on the Mavs' trip to LA, Phoenix and Houston, but still not close to playing games. He's been out all season after arthroscopic right knee surgery and watched the game from the bench. ... Crawford made three free throws, extending his streak to 51 straight since Nov. 3. ... Clippers G Chauncey Billups missed the game because of tendinitis in his left foot. ... The Clippers' run of 10 turnovers or less in their last three games ended when they committed 18 miscues. ... Singer Tamia, wife of Clippers F Grant Hill, scored a Grammy nomination for best R&B album. "If she wins, she'll go straight to diva," he joked.
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