Before the game even got started Caron Butler received his championship ring from Dallas head coach Rick Carlisle with a hug. The Mavs were gracious in honoring their former power forward. They almost didn’t seem concerned with the most hyped team in the NBA rolling into Dallas. And the Mavs should be confident. They’ve beaten LA the last 10 times the 2 teams have met in Dallas.
The game started the way the last 10 loses for the Clippers ended, with Dallas jumping out to a quick lead. The Clippers may have one of the most highlight reel prone lineups in the NBA with names like Griffin, CP3, and Jordan, but a wide-open 18-ft jumper is worth the same 2 points and that’s the type of deuce Dallas built their championship on. It also helps that Dirk Nowitzki’s been known to shoot lights out in crunch time, something the Clippers are still trying to sort out.
It was Dirk again leading the way for the Mavs with 22 points and 11 boards, but throughout the game Dallas had a balanced attack. Marion had 16 points, and Terry, Carter, and Haywood each chipped in 10 points to provide the majority of the offensive punch for Dallas.
Dallas jumped out to an 8 point first quarter lead and took that same lead into half-time, but after the 3rd it was LA on top which set the stage for a great 4th quarter showdown. The Mavs charged out of the gates in the 4th with 7 unanswered points, but LA came right back behind 3-pointers by CP3 and interior drop-steps by Griffin.
When the game was on the line though Griffin’s free throw shooting was atrocious. He missed 5 straight free throws with only minutes left on the clock. Overall he had 23 points, but his 2-9 showing from the line essentially crippled his team down the stretch. Even with his impotent effort from the charity stripe, LA had a shot to win with Caron Butler releasing a wide open 3-pointer with 5 seconds remaining that would have given them the lead. Unfortunately for LA fans, Butler drew nothing but iron and the Dallas streak of home wins versus the Clippers now stands at eleven.
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