Dallas Mavericks

Game 30: Mavs at Clippers

Highlights: Mavs vs. Clippers

Check out all the top plays from Friday night’s 90-88 win over the Los Angeles Clippers.

LOS ANGELES — After playing the previous 14 games without their veteran leader, the Dallas Mavericks received an early Christmas gift Friday night in Los Angeles.

Taking on the L.A. Clippers for a second time this season, the Mavericks attempted to redeem themselves for a 124-104 home loss on Nov. 23. The Mavs also tried to carry over the momentum of Wednesday’s 96-95 win in Portland, playing the third outing of a four-game stretch on the road and hoping to receive a boost from the return of 13-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki in his first game action since Nov. 25 due to a right Achilles strain.

Nowitzki would then produce a vintage performance before meeting his minute restriction in the first half. And after leading scorer Harrison Barnes’ game-winning jumper with 3.7 seconds left, the Mavericks (9-21) captured a second straight win following a 90-88 victory.

“It felt good. I thought this team has done a good job of just continuing to fight this year,” Barnes modestly said after his first game-winner as a Mav. “You know, we got off to a rough start and road wins have been difficult, so to get this one was huge for us.”

Sliding Nowitzki into the starting lineup at center in place of injured big man Andrew Bogut (right knee injury), the Mavericks tried to take advantage of the Clippers’ tired legs on the second night of a back-to-back following L.A.’s 106-101 home win Thursday over San Antonio. The Mavs also tried to come out aggressively with perennial All-Star point guard Chris Paul (left hamstring) and big man Blake Griffin (knee surgery) out of the lineup for the Clippers (22-9).

Nowitzki then swished a jumper over former teammate Raymond Felton to get on the board with his first shot attempt of the night. The Mavericks found themselves in an early dogfight from there as both teams exchanged haymakers in the opening quarter. And despite a chase-down block by backup big man Salah Mejri on Clippers guard Austin Rivers to highlight the period, the Mavs entered into the second stanza in a 24-21 hole.

“I felt pretty good,” Nowitzki said. “You know, the first timeout I was tired, my legs were pretty heavy, and I got a little rest and actually felt better. It’s good to be back, so hopefully we’re not looking back from here.”

Jumping back into the scoring with an offensive rebound and basket in traffic, Nowitzki began to assert himself inside early in the second quarter. Nowitzki stayed on the attack from there, keeping the Mavericks within an arm’s reach in the process.

“I found myself open on a couple of pick-and-pops, and that’s the only thing I still can do, I guess,” Nowitzki would later say. “I found myself open, and I was making a couple. That was fun.”

The 38-year-old Nowitzki then headed to the bench with 9:14 left in the half, handing the offensive duties over to Barnes. Nowitzki returned to the floor midway through the second quarter to help the Mavericks keep pace as the Clippers attempted to pull away behind backup big man Marreese Speights. But after Nowitzki’s back-to-back triples from the top of the key brought the Mavs within three at 40-37, sharpshooter Seth Curry did the honors of tying the game with a trey of his own.

Nowitzki then exited the game with the Mavericks up 43-40, heading to the locker room after meeting his minute restriction with 2:54 in the half. However, following a three to close the half by Rivers, the Mavs entered the intermission trailing 51-50.

Led by Nowitzki’s 17 points on 7-of-12 shooting and 2 of 3 from three-point range in just under 15 minutes, the Mavericks outshot the Clippers through two quarters, 48.8 percent to 45 percent.  Meanwhile, the Clippers held a 21-18 rebounding edge to overcome Dallas’ 15 points off 11 L.A. turnovers through two quarters.

“It was great. To have [Nowitzki] back out there, it just gives our team such a different energy,” Barnes said of the first half. “You know, he’s been working extremely hard, so that was great for him. And for us, if he can keep up that production, it would be phenomenal.”

Already playing without Nowitzki in the second half, the Mavericks would then return to the court minus reserve guard Devin Harris due to a right eye injury. Meanwhile, the Clippers began the third quarter with a 6-0 run to create a separation on the scoreboard.

Swingman Wesley Matthews then did his best to keep the Mavericks afloat, joining Nowitzki and Barnes in double figures in the process. Second-year standout Justin Anderson also stepped up off the bench, bringing the Mavs within one at 62-61 after a three from the wing. Still, even after back-to-back scores by Barnes to close the period, the Clippers took a 72-68 edge into the fourth quarter.

Inching to within three early in the fourth after Matthews’ 1-of-2 trip to the foul line, the Mavericks attempted to muster up a rally. Meanwhile, Clippers sixth man Jamal Crawford tried to close the door on the visiting team while assuming L.A.’s scoring duties. But after Matthews’ driving score, the Mavs faced just a 76-73 deficit with 8:47 remaining.

Mavs point guard Deron Williams took matters from there, shaking off a sluggish shooting night to drill a corner three-pointer that made it a two-point game. Williams then snook into the lane for a floater with 6:37 left to play, leading to a L.A. timeout as the Clippers held an 80-78 edge. And after Barnes’ step-back jumper, the Mavericks found themselves even on the scoreboard at 80-all with 5:43 on the game clock.

Crawford immediately went back to work, swishing a three from the wing to keep Barnes and the Mavs at a safe distance. The Mavericks would respond on Mejri’s post move at the other end, taking an 84-83 edge after a goaltending call on Jordan inside. Mejri continued to contribute off the bench by splitting a pair of free throws to tie the game at 85-all. But after Rivers’ three put the Clippers up 88-85, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle was forced to burn a timeout with 1:38 left to play.

The two teams exchanged turnovers before a two-handed slam by third-year big man Dwight Powell brought the Mavericks within one with just 54.4 seconds remaining. The Dallas defense took matters from there, forcing a stop and subsequent loose-ball foul on Jordan with 33.9 seconds left. And after Matthews split a pair at the foul line, the Mavericks again drew even at 88-88.

Mavs undrafted rookie Dorian Finney-Smith then put Jordan at the free-throw line with 27.4 left, leading to his pair of misses at the charity stripe and Powell’s rebound with 27.1 ticks to operate following Carlisle’s timeout. Barnes then rose to the occasion, keeping his dribble alive against Luc Mbah a Moute and swishing a hanging jumper to put the Mavericks up with 3.7 seconds remaining. And after Matthews and Curry came together to force Rivers into a turnover, the Mavericks left the Staples Center with a hard-fought win.

“You get the ball in the hands of your best player, and you give him the opportunity to win the game. And that’s what Harrison did,” Carlisle said of the final sequence.

He added: “It was great execution by the guys. You know, we got into it when we wanted to, and Harrison ended up bobbling it a little but recovered. It actually gave him a chance to take the shot at the end of the shot clock, which limited them, ’cause they didn’t have a timeout. And then on their inbounds, Curry made a great play to back-tip the ball.”

Scoring 24 points and the game-winning jumper on 11-of-19 shooting, Barnes led the way to the win while grabbing six rebounds. Nowitzki returned to score 17 points on 7 of 12 from the field in less than 15 minutes, and Matthews added 16 points in the first unit. Williams made it four Mavs in double figures with 12 points, five rebounds and nine assists.

Crawford led four Clippers in double figures with 26 points on 10 of 16 from the field. The Clippers also outshot the Mavericks for the game, 45.9 percent to 42.5 percent, but couldn’t overcome Dallas’ 42-41 rebounding edge and 20 points off L.A.’s 20 turnovers.

“It was a great win by the boys in the second half with tough defense and big baskets by some key guys,” Nowitzki concluded. “H.B. was fantastic down the stretch, so it feels good to sit on a two-game winning streak before Christmas, and we’ve just got to keep grinding it out.”

Note: The Mavericks will now conclude their four-game road stretch Monday night in New Orleans, taking on the Pelicans for the second time this season. The Mavs lead the season series 1-0 after a 91-81 win in Dallas on Nov. 27. The game will tip off at 7 p.m. CT, airing locally on Fox Sports Southwest and 103.3 FM ESPN. The game will also air in Spanish on KFLC AM 1270.

The Mavericks return to American Airlines Center on Tuesday night, hosting the Houston Rockets. Houston leads the season series 3-0. The game will tip off at 7:30 p.m. CT, airing locally on Fox Sports Southwest and 103.3 FM ESPN. The game will also air in Spanish on KFLC AM 1270. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by visiting Mavs.com, or by calling (214) 747-MAVS.

Injury updates:

Dirk Nowitzki (right Achilles strain) — probable

J.J. Barea (left leg muscle strain) — out

Andrew Bogut (right knee injury) — out

LOS ANGELES — Although the Dallas Mavericks won’t be at full strength Friday night against the Los Angeles Clippers after veteran guard J.J. Barea flew back home to have his left leg muscle strain further examined, they figure to receive a big boost from the return of 13-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki.

Losing Barea during the first half of Wednesday’s 96-95 win in Portland, the Mavericks (8-21) will attempt to survive without the cat-quick guard’s services two nights later. Meanwhile, Nowitzki will slide back into the lineup after missing the previous 14 games due to a right Achilles strain that has bothered him all season. And although Nowitzki will be placed under a strict minute restriction, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle looks forward to having the 7-footer back on the court.

“Dirk is doing well, and Dirk is going to play on a limited basis tonight,” Carlisle said following the Mavericks’ Friday morning shootaround.

He added: “Look, this is a beginning, and it’s going to be long road back to full minutes, full conditioning and full rhythm. But now is the time to start.”

Bothered by the Achilles injury all season long, the 38-year-old Nowitzki is averaging 12.2 points and 6.4 rebounds in five games while shooting just 35.8 percent from the field and 27.3 percent from three-point range. He’s also playing just 26.2 minutes an outing, which is the lowest since his rookie season. That said, Nowitzki admits that it will be a gradual process to get him back to playing at an elite level. But after returning from the injury earlier in the season before being forced to miss time once again, Nowitzki is positive that he will return at the proper speed this time around.

“The Achilles is responding really well to all the movement stuff we’ve been doing,” Nowitzki said after going through an extensive workout on the Mavs’ off day. “But you know, nothing is like replicating a game, so we’re going to ease into it, obviously, and basically play some spot minutes here and there. We’ll obviously increase the workload as we get along, but I’m really happy. It hasn’t been great for a long, long time now, so hopefully we’re over the worst and not looking back from here.

“I didn’t expect it to get worse again, and that’s why obviously I wanted to play. But it’s definitely much better now than it was then, and we don’t expect it to get worse again. We’re going to ease into it a little slower than we did a couple of weeks ago, so hopefully it will respond the right way and I won’t miss any more action.”

Note: The Mavericks will now continue their road trip Friday night in Los Angeles, taking on the Clippers for the second time this season. The Clippers lead the season series 1-0 after a 124-104 win in Dallas on Nov. 23. The game will tip off at 9:30 p.m. CT, airing locally on Fox Sports Southwest and 103.3 FM ESPN. The game will also air nationally on NBA TV and in Spanish on KFLC AM 1270.

The Mavericks return to American Airlines Center on Dec. 27, hosting the Houston Rockets. Houston leads the season series 3-0. The game will tip off at 7:30 p.m. CT, airing locally on Fox Sports Southwest and 103.3 FM ESPN. The game will also air in Spanish on KFLC AM 1270. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by visiting Mavs.com, or by calling (214) 747-MAVS.

Injury updates:

Dirk Nowitzki (right Achilles strain) — probable

J.J. Barea (left leg muscle strain) — out

Andrew Bogut (right knee injury) — out

LOS ANGELES — Sprinting to a 25-point lead before hanging on for a 96-95 win Wednesday night in Portland, the Dallas Mavericks now feel they may have turned a corner during the 2016-17 season.

Securing Wednesday’s win after swingman Wesley Matthews forced a misfire from Damian Lillard on the final possession, the Mavericks (8-21) moved to 1-1 on their current four-game stretch away from home. The Mavs also secured a coveted road win in a hostile venue, silencing the Moda Center for much of the first half before answering the Trail Blazers’ run down the stretch. Now, the Mavericks will attempt to carry that momentum over to Friday night’s matchup in the Staples Center, looking to avenge a 124-104 home loss at the hands of the Los Angeles Clippers back on Nov. 23.

“This is good that we’re going through this and having to withstand big runs in tough buildings,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle confessed following Wednesday’s win.

He added: “You know, you’re going to come up against some adversity on the road. But every time something bad happened we responded with composure, aggression and togetherness, and that was a great sign.”

Catching the Clippers (22-8) on the second night of a home-home back-to-back following L.A.’s 106-101 win Thursday over San Antonio, the Mavericks will now try to silence another raucous crowd. The Mavs will also attempt to contain perennial All-Star point guard Chris Paul, who led the Clippers to Thursday’s win with 19 points, seven rebounds and six assists without big man Blake Griffin (knee surgery) in the lineup.

Paul was one of seven Clippers in double figures during the first matchup against the Mavericks in November as L.A. outshot the Dallas squad for the game, 50.6 percent to 45.2 percent. The Clippers also overcame a 44-43 rebounding disadvantage by finishing with a 65-43 edge in bench scoring and converting the Mavericks’ 16 turnovers into 25 points. Dallas will now seek retribution for that loss, entering Friday with 13-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki (right Achilles strain) and veteran guard J.J. Barea (left leg muscle strain) listed as questionable. That said, the Mavericks know they will face a daunting task once again while trying to build on Wednesday’s win in Portland.

“I think slowly but surely we’re starting to put together games and starting to get it,” Mavs leading scorer Harrison Barnes said after posting a team-high 28 points on 10-of-22 shooting in Wednesday’s win. “Now, it’s just about getting over the hump. I think (Wednesday) was a great example of that, especially on the road. I think we’ve shown it at home, and (Wednesday) was big for us.”

Note: The Mavericks will now continue their road trip Friday night in Los Angeles, taking on the Clippers for the second time this season. The Clippers lead the season series 1-0 after a 124-104 win in Dallas on Nov. 23. The game will tip off at 9:30 p.m. CT, airing locally on Fox Sports Southwest and 103.3 FM ESPN. The game will also air nationally on NBA TV and in Spanish on KFLC AM 1270.

The Mavericks return to American Airlines Center on Dec. 27, hosting the Houston Rockets. Houston leads the season series 3-0. The game will tip off at 7:30 p.m. CT, airing locally on Fox Sports Southwest and 103.3 FM ESPN. The game will also air in Spanish on KFLC AM 1270. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by visiting Mavs.com, or by calling (214) 747-MAVS.

Injury updates:

Dirk Nowitzki (right Achilles strain) — questionable

J.J. Barea (left leg muscle strain) — questionable

Andrew Bogut (right knee injury) — out

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