The Dallas Mavericks sealed their ninth home win of the season Sunday night, defeating the Los Angeles Clippers 114-110. Harrison Barnes scored a season-high 30 points while DeAndre Jordan grabbed 23 rebounds for the Mavericks. Montrezl Harrell led the Clippers with 23 points off the bench.
An all offense first quarter greeted fans to the American Airlines Center as neither team had much in the way of missed shots or defense. Though the Clippers took an early lead, Harrison Barnes poured in 15 points in the period, including a pair of end of shot clock threes. JJ Barea once again led the Mavericks off the bench with a number of nifty buckets as both teams could not hold on to a lead for long. Los Angeles led after one, 35-34.
Though Dallas took the lead on a Devin Harris and-one to start the second quarter, the Clipper bench pounded Dallas early. The Mavericks simply could not get looks to fall and Los Angeles built up a nine point lead in the frame. Then, all of a sudden, things clicked for Dallas in a hurry. Over a three minute stretch in the latter part of the quarter, Dallas went on a 15-0 run over a three minute span to take an eight point lead. The Clippers responded with a quick 6-0 run of their own to bring it within two points, but a DeAndre Jordan tip in at the buzzer allowed Dallas to take a 62-58 lead into the half.
Los Angeles quickly tied the game to start the third quarter, but a methodical Dallas approach won out the quarter. An active offense fueled by a complete team effort resulted in Dallas extending their halftime lead from four points to eight. The most memorable part of the quarter came when Dennis Smith Jr. took an errant elbow to the mouth from Patrick Beverly and lost a tooth. Smith briefly went to the locker room but returned to finish the game. The Mavericks led 88-80 entering the final quarter.
Dallas withstood a furious effort from the Clippers throughout the fourth quarter. Following a jump ball situation, Patrick Beverly passed a ball in the direction of a Maverick fan along the sideline and was promptly ejected. After repeatedly closing in on the Maverick lead, a Harrell dunk at the 1:15 mark tied the game at 107 each. DeAndre Jordan gave Dallas the lead with a tip in of a Harrison Barnes drive. Lou Williams briefly gave the Clippers the lead, hitting a pull up three with 45 seconds remaining. Los Angeles held the lead for just 14 seconds as Dorian Finney-Smith tipped in another Barnes miss and Dallas would not trail again. DeAndre Jordan hit one of two free throws and Dennis Smith blocked a game tying attempt from Tobias Harris. Smith then buried the ensuing two free throws and the Mavericks walked away with a 114-110 victory.
Now, some thoughts
DeAndre Jordan, with feeling
After a performance which left much to be desired against the Lakers, Jordan played his most active game in recent memory on both sides of the ball. All of my criticisms from Friday were answered with improvements. His hands were up defensively, he hedged on at least some screens, and he actually made block attempts. The activity and effort were there in the details and it mattered for Dallas in a close game.
The Mavericks need Jordan so it was great to see him respond in kind following a tough loss.
Dennis Smith has guts
Losing a tooth in the middle of a game has to be a shocking experience. Yet Smith took an elbow to the face and later game back in and continued to play extremely hard. His game sealing block of Tobias Harris was simply outstanding, considering both Smith’s face and how much bigger Harris is.
It’s been an interesting sophomore campaign for Smith, but he plays hard and is constantly trying to get better. Can’t ask for much more than that.
No Luka, no problem
Harrison Barnes scored 30 points and J.J. Barea poured in 24 of his own. Finney-Smith and Jordan turned in double digit scoring performances, while Dennis Smith and Dwight Powell were just one basket each away from the double figure mark. It was an impressive performance with the team missing a key player against a very competitive Clipper squad.
The Mavericks should still shoot more threes, but a win is a win. I think everyone would like it if Barnes shot fewer than 28 times but all but two of his attempts were either threes or in the resticted area. He should have gotten more foul calls, but if he keeps driving like he has been over the last few weeks those calls may come. Dallas also has to find a way to get Dennis Smith more looks.