The Dallas Mavericks beat the Los Angeles Clipper 103-101 in a game that devolved into a back-and-forth thriller, despite Dallas building a big early lead.
Dallas has a complicated relationship with big leads. Is it better to build a big lead and lose it than to have never had a big lead in the first place? These are questions for scholars. For the layperson, just put the dub on the board and move along to the next game.
13: Points Reggie Bullock scored in the fourth quarter
Reggie Bullock has been drawing some ire from Mavericks fans early in the season as his shot has been more miss than hit as of late. That chatter would have grown much louder had this game ended after three quarters.
Through the first 36 minutes of the game, Bullock had taken three shots, all from deep, and missed them all. It looked to be a continuation of his ongoing shooting woes. However, when the team was looking for someone, anyone, to answer the bell and help put them in front of a determined LA squad late in the fourth, it was Bullock who rose to the occasion.
He scored 13 points in the final quarter by going 4-of-5 from three and 1-of-2 from the free throw line. (He missed one that could’ve put Dallas up four with 7.3 seconds left, but all's well that ends well.) With any luck, his big finish to this game signals that Bullock’s mid-season shooting turnaround is set to arrive a couple of months early.
11: Clutch games the Mavericks have played this season
Dallas has played a total of 13 games so far. Of those, 11 have been classified as clutch games. That is every game outside of the 41-point blowout against Memphis and the disappointing eight-point loss to the Wizards. They're tied with the Sacramento Kings for the game clutch games played this year.
If Dallas was an outgunned team, scrapping to stay in games late, it would be one thing. That’s not the case. The Mavs have the league’s early-season MVP, are largely healthy, and have built big double-digit leads, only to see them squandered, whittled to within five, game after game.
Credit where it’s due, the Clippers didn’t fold when they went down 25, and Dallas didn’t fold when LA fought their way back in.
7: Number of threes hit by Dorian Finney-Smith
Bullock was Mr. Fourth Quarter tonight, but it was Dorian Finney-Smith who set a career-high.
Finney-Smith spread his scoring around a bit more than Bullock, but his seven made threes were a career-high. Two of those even came in the fourth quarter. (He’s hit eight previously, but it was a postseason game). He was locked in from deep all night and was taking what the LA defense was giving him which just so happened to be a bunch of three-point shots. He was 7-of-15 from the floor and all 21 of his points tonight came via cashing in with the deep ball.
28: Points scored off 21 Clipper turnovers
The Mavericks’ offense looked streamlined while in the process of building an early 25-point lead. However, from the second quarter all the way into the middle of the fourth, it was an absolute slog.
Their only saving grace while their offense was in the gutter was their ability to get the Clippers to cough up the ball and generate extra looks for themselves. Paul George alone had 10 turnovers. Good thing, too. As a team, Los Angeles shot better than Dallas from every part of the floor, putting up 53/43/81 shooting splits compared to Dallas’ 44/40/67. The Mavs’ saving grace was generating 80 total shots compared to LA’s 64.
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