For about an hour, it looked like Tuesday would be the night that sparked 1,000 TV features and Internet columns about how the tides are changing in L.A., and the Clippers are seriously challenging the Lakers for local supremacy. The Clippers were outplaying the Mavs in the first half of a huge road game, while the Lakers had a dangerous Utah team on the schedule. The stage was set. But by the end of the night, status quo had been maintained … Mavs/Clippers started out bad for Dirk Nowitzki‘s crew: Sasha Pavlovic air-balled, DeAndre Jordan dunked, Dirk bricked, and Baron Davis hit a H.O.R.S.E.-style three. A few possessions later, Baron hit Blake Griffin (22 pts, 11 rebs) with an alley-oop from halfcourt, as the home fans were either saying “Oooh!” for Blake or “Booo!” for their squad … In the second half, however, Dallas found a bottle of that stingy defense they had been using earlier in the season. While the D shut L.A. down in the third quarter and most of the fourth, Jason Terry (28 pts) and J.J. Barea (25 pts) carried the O while Dirk (20 pts, 6-15 FG) had a quiet night by his standards. The Mavs took control but the Clips didn’t die easy, cutting a double-digit lead to six before Terry’s corner three with 30 seconds left served as the dagger … According to one Dallas announcer, Griffin is “the alpha dog of (the Clippers), unquestioned. Good for him and good for them.” That’s true, but as L.A.’s offense struggled last night, it looked like they needed Eric Gordon more than anybody … The Mavs neutralized Blake — as much as possible, anyway — with a combination of mind and muscle. They cut off passing lanes so Blake couldn’t even get the ball a lot of times, and Jason Kidd got at least one steal by sneaking behind Blake and snatching the ball from him. And when that didn’t work, Brendan Haywood just slammed the rookie to the floor … We don’t want to accuse Vinny Del Negro of waving the white flag early, but, well, you saw Brian Cook on the court in the fourth quarter. Although that reverse layup Cook made might have been the most athletic thing he’s done since he was at Illinois … When he’s on a roll, Barea has a little Steve Nash in his game, including the part where opponents eventually get annoyed with him. One time a frustrated Baron knocked Barea down with a couple forearm shots, which brought Rick Carlisle onto the court to yell at Baron. Both Carlisle and Baron got T’d up …Read More>>
Smack / Jan 26, 2011 / 2:51 am
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