Clippers fall to Mavericks in a close game as playoffs approach- March 2014

     The LA Clippers took on the visiting Dallas Mavericks in a pivotal matchup as the playoffs near.  Missing was Jamal Crawfod and Danny Granger, both out with injuries that could keep them both out until the playoffs start. However, there was the return of JJ Reddick, who was a bit rusty but did make a few shots.  Chris Paul was held in check by the Mavs defense while Blake Griffin had a triple double despite not having a great second half.

     Dallas was led by Dirk Nowitski’s 26 points in their 113-107 win. He hit some huge 3- point shots in the 4th quarter while Jose Calderon, Monte Ellis, Samuel Dalembert, Brandon Wright and Vince Carter provided a balanced attack all scoring between 8-19 points. 

     The game was very close throughout but Dallas started to pull away in the 4th quarter even with coach Rick Carlyle taking out Nowitski with about 4-5 minutes left and the team up by double digits to perhaps give him some rest vs. the Lakers the next night on a back to back.  However, that changed quickly and Dirk was summoned back in but LA still pulled within 2 points with a little more than a minute left to go in the game. Dallas rushed some shots and had some turnovers while Paul and Darren Collison (22 points) led a fierce rally only to fall short.  The Clips had a chance to tie or take the lead but went for a couple rushed 3-point shots and that was it as Dallas held on. 

     DeAndre Jordan continues to impress having another great game with 21 points and 15 rebounds as he should win the defensive player of the year and also get some votes for most improved player as he is leading the NBA in rebounding and in the top 4-5 in blocked shots while showcasing some great dunks. 

     This was a very big night as Los Angeles had some hopes to catch Oklahoma City but that turned the wrong way as the Thunder stopped the Spurs 19 game winning streak to all but secure the #2 spot in the West and hand the Clips the #3 spot where they will host game 1 of the playoffs on April 19th or 20th.  Doc Rivers wasn’t too pleased as he was hoping for a season sweep vs. Dallas who are definitely a very streaky team.  Dallas, in the meantime, needs every win they can get as they battle Phoenix and Memphis for the final two playoff spots. Next up for the Clippers are the Lakers on Sunday afternoon before facing Oklahoma City on April 9th in a showdown vs. MVP favorite Kevin Durrant.

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