DALLAS MAVERICKS vs LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS- March 27 at American Airlines Center (8:30 p.m. ET)
Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks look to finally put away the Los Angeles Clippers as the two teams will meet for the third time this season on March 27 at the AAC. Game starts at 8:30 p.m. ET and can be seen on Fox Sports Southwest with Mark Followill, Derek Harper and Jeff “Skin” Wade.
The Mavericks will play their sixth game of their eight-game home stand, currently at 3-2. In that five-game span, the Mavs have played three times in overtime, losing to the Nets and T’Wolves.
Dallas is coming off one of its best games of the year. Nowitzki led seven players in double figures with 32 points, 10 rebounds, six dimes and four steals as the Mavericks won the season series with the Oklahoma City Thunder 128-119 in overtime, despite 43 points from Kevin Durant, on March 25. It was his fourth double-double of the season, and eighth 30-point game. Jose Calderon added 22 points on 7-of-10 shooting (6-of-9 from downtown) while Monta Ellis scored 10 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter and overtime.
The Clippers remain one of the hottest teams in the league, winning 13 of 15 and just 2.5 games out of the 2nd-seeded Thunder out West.
LA defeated the Bucks 106-98 on March 24 behind Blake Griffin’s 27 points, 14 rebounds, six assists and three blocks. The Clippers lost in New Orleans on March 26, 98-96. Jamal Crawford scored 31 points in 35 minutes off the bench. Chris Paul dished out 12 assists, but was 0-of-12 from the field. DeAndre Jordan grabbed 16 boards while Griffin finished with 21 points.
He’s STILL Dirk: Even at 35 years old, Nowitzki is having a terrific season, averaging 21.4 points (12th in the NBA), 48.8 percent from the field, 38.7 percent from three, and a career-high 91.8 percent from the line (2nd). With 10 games left in the regular season, Nowitzki will have a chance to pass some significant players in points. He needs to average 12 points a game to pass Dominique Wilkins for 11th in all-time scoring and needs to average 16 points to pass Oscar Robertson for 10th. His stat-filling finish vs OKC was the first time in his career that he finished with those marks.
Can’t Finish The Job: The Dallas Mavericks could easily be up two games to none in the season series with the Clippers, yet LA is the one up 2-0. The Mavs had their chances, owning late-fourth-quarter leads only to blow both games away. Paul only played 22 minutes after leaving with a sprained right shoulder midway through the third, but the Mavs didn’t have an answer for the LA big men. Dallas led 110-103 with 3:50 left, but LA finished the game on a 16-2 run to come away with a 119-112 victory on Jan. 3 in Big D. Jordan had 25 points, 18 boards and three blocks while Griffin added 25 points, 15 boards and five dimes. Nowitzki led the Mavs with 24 points on 10-of-17 shooting while Shawn Marion added 20 points. Dallas was just 1-of-7 in that final stretch. The Mavericks looked to be in better shape when the two tangled in LA just 12 days later on Jan. 15. Dallas found itself with a 123-106 lead after going on a 32-6 run with 4:35 remaining, but again the Clippers finished the game strong with a 23-4 run and win game 2 of the season series 129-127. The Mavs were just 2-of-9 in that stretch. Nowitzki had a team-high 27 points and eight boards while J.J. Redick dropped a career-high 33 points on 10-of-14 shooting, 7-of-9 from behind the arc. Griffin added 23 points, seven rebounds and eight assists. Matt Barnes had 25 points in 30 minutes off the bench. Ellis finished with a double-double with 13 points, 13 dimes, six boards and four steals. Samuel Dalembert finished with a season-high 20 points.
No Redick This Time: Redick has missed the last 21 games and is expected to sit out of Thursday’s game. Crawford missed some time with an injury, but recently came back. He’s expected to play, but off the bench in favor of former Maverick Darren Collison.
Tight Race: The Mavs are in a battle in the West playoffs and still has a chance to reach the 5th seed. Dallas is currently outside the playoff picture, 9th, but has a chance to get into 8th when the Grizzlies play in Utah later tonight. If Memphis loses, Dallas will be 8th with the Suns in 7th. The Mavs and Suns have identical records, but due to a better conference record, the Suns would be the 7th seed if the playoffs started tomorrow. Dallas is two games back of Portland for 5th and 1.5 games back of Golden State for 6th. Dallas still has to play Phoenix, Golden State and Memphis one more time. The Mavericks already own the tiebreaker with Memphis and Portland, and will try to win the season series when they face the Suns. The Mavs can tied the season series with the Warriors, and if both teams finish with the same record, it will come down to better conference record. Golden State is one game up on Dallas with a 24-18 record compared to Dallas’ 23-19 record.