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4 things as Dallas wins back-and-forth affair with Clippers, 106-98

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Somehow Dallas was able to pull this one out at home

NBA: Los Angeles Clippers at Dallas Mavericks Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

After losing to the Milwaukee Bucks Monday on Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday, the Dallas Mavericks hosted the Los Angeles Clippers in Dallas Tuesday night, looking to break out of a funk and secure a victory.

DENNIS RETURNS TO STANDING OVATION

Dennis Smith Jr. was not having a great month of January, with trade rumors and tension between he and head coach Rick Carlisle boiling over in recent weeks. With no trade materializing and both sides realizing they need each other, eventually DSJ returned to the team and tonight returned to game action. The young guard scored 17 points, grabbed 8 boards and handed out 4 assists, with a familiar mix of flashy plays and head-scratching mistakes. That isn’t surprising, of course, especially given there’s surely some rust that needed to be shaken off, but it was encouraging that the team was able to get a win with Smith seeing a significant portion of the offensive gameplan. He missed a few gimmes around the basket, and had a few decisions with the ball that he’d likely want to have back, but Dallas is hardly in a position to turn away talented players who can contribute even if they are still a work in progress. Dennis needs time and the Mavs should give it to him.

HARRISON BARNES BUSTS OUT OF SLUMP WITH SOLID OUTING

It felt like one of those games where Barnes started hot, then kind of disappeared for a while, only to show up again late. All in all he finished with a surprisingly efficient line, with 20 points on 7-14 shooting, including 3-5 from deep(where he was under 30 percent in the month of January). For now we won’t quibble too much over the 2 rebound, 1 assist in 34 minute of his game.

DEANDRE PLAYS ONE OF THE BEST GAMES OF HIS SEASON, ESPECIALLY ON DEFENSE

I don’t know what got into DeAndre Jordan tonight but looked energetic and ready to play, as the big man facing his old team put up 13 points, 16 rebounds, 5 blocks, 4 assists and 0 turnovers. He helped Dallas keep the Clippers cold in that second half stretch where they missed 16(?) straight shots. Some more games like this from DAJ would be nice.

A FRUSTRATING NIGHT FOR LUKA IS STILL A PRODUCTIVE ONE

Luka did not have the three point shot working tonight(he must’ve caught whatever had been ailing Barnes of late), and that frustration reached its apex at halftime when Luka tore his jersey open walking off the court. But Luka stayed with it and still put up a respectable 17-7-6, thanks primarily to 10 trips to the free throw line. This kind of sums up my impression of the game generally: the Mavs didn’t play tremendously well, but they stuck with things and put enough solid possessions at both ends together to eek this one out. The absence of the Clippers’ Danilo Gallinari also helped, I’m sure.

It may not have been pretty but a win’s a win, and now Dallas gets two days off before a very winnable game Friday against the Detroit Pistons. See you then!