Blake Griffin scored 32 points and the Los Angeles Clippers never trailed in their 112-101 victory over the Dallas Mavericks Wednesday night at Staples.
It was a strong showing for the Clippers who have struggled of late with closing out games when leading down the stretch. On Wednesday, they led the entire game taking a big lead into the fourth.
But we’ve seen this scenario before and I’ll be honest, I worried whether those 4th quarter demons would cause sloppy play and another Clipper collapse. Thankfully, the demons were nowhere to be found.
The Clippers started off strong scoring the first nine points of the game. They shot 61% in the first quarter ending up with an impressive 17-point lead.
The Mavs were able to pull within seven in the second quarter but the Clippers stepped it up and went on a run to extend the lead to 18 at the half.
In the second half the Mavs, behind strong play by rookie guard Yogi Ferrell and Nicolas Brussino, pulled within six early on but the Clippers kept their composure and went on a 17-6 run. This extended the lead to 90-73 heading into the fourth.
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The Mavs had one more push however, and brought the score to within nine. But thanks to Griffin and some steady shooting at the free throw line, including two straight from Jordan (miracle!), the Clippers weathered the storm to get the W and move within one game of the idle Jazz.
Along with Griffin’s 32 points, J.J. Redick added 25 with Chris Paul chipping in 22 and 11 rebounds. DeAndre Jordan had a monster night on the boards grabbing 20 rebounds and the Clippers have now won four straight games.
This is just the kind of clean and confident play I want to see at the end of the season. Let’s hope they can keep it up.
Harrison Barnes led with 15 points for the Mavs who have now lost six of their last seven. The team is virtually eliminated from the playoffs with six games remaining.
With the 4th seed and home-court advantage on the line, the Clippers head to AT&T Center on Saturday to take on the San Antonio Spurs.