Mavericks-Clippers Preview

The Dallas Mavericks have arrived in Los Angeles to face the

city’s two NBA teams in consecutive nights at Staples Center.

Their games against the Clippers at the arena have typically

been much easier.

Before their highly anticipated matchup with the surging Lakers,

the Mavericks look to win their ninth straight over the Clippers on

Wednesday night.

Dallas (52-21) is one game back of the Lakers for second place

in the Western Conference and will play the two-time defending

champions Thursday. The Mavericks have lost five of six against the

Lakers at Staples, but have had no such trouble beating the

Clippers there.

Dallas has won four straight over the Clippers (29-45) in Los

Angeles by an average of 17.5 points, taking the most recent road

meeting with them 99-83 on Oct. 31.

The Mavericks also beat the Clippers 112-105 at home Jan. 25 for

their eighth win in a row in the series and 14th in 15 meetings.

Los Angeles’ losing streak against Dallas is its longest against

any West opponent.

The Mavericks relied on balanced scoring in the first two

meetings, with Jason Terry averaging 21.5 points, Dirk Nowitzki

18.0 and Caron Butler 17.0. Dallas has also done a good job of

containing Blake Griffin.

The Clippers’ rookie star has averaged 19.0 points, 35.5 percent

shooting and 10.0 rebounds in those contests. He is averaging 22.5

points, 50.6 percent from the field and 12.1 boards against the

rest of the league.

While Dallas has had little trouble with the Clippers lately, it

struggled to get in gear against Phoenix on Monday.

Tied at 83 with 1:11 remaining, Jason Kidd hit 3-pointers on

back-to-back possessions and then added two free throws to lead the

Mavericks to a 91-83 victory.

“These kinds of games come down to will and toughness and I give

our guys a lot of credit,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “Our shots

weren’t falling all night. We struggled with turnovers early and to

just hang in and come in to huddles and talking about how we’re

going to get it done.

“That’s progress for us and we’ve just got to keep building on

that.”

Dallas, which shot 38.1 percent, got a team-high 16 points from

Kidd, Terry and Tyson Chandler. Nowitzki went 6 of 19 from the

floor and scored 15.

“Shooting 38 percent from the field and still being able to beat

a good offensive team and being able to hold them to 83 points is a

huge accomplishment for us,” Chandler said. “We had to buckle down

and understand what it was going to take for us to win.”

Chandler has not missed a shot from the field or free-throw line

against the Clippers this season. He was 2 of 2 from the floor and

4 of 4 from the line Oct. 31, and made all five field-goal attempts

while going 11 of 11 on foul shots Jan. 25.

The Mavericks, an NBA-best 26-10 on the road, are 2-0 on their

season-high six-game trip.

The Clippers, winners of 14 of 18 at home, haven’t played since

a 94-90 victory over Toronto at Staples Center on Saturday. Griffin

had 22 points and 16 rebounds, while Chris Kaman finished with 17

points and 12 boards for Los Angeles, which closed the game on a

20-8 run.

“We just switched up our defense and got stops, then went out in

transition,” said Griffin, averaging 25.7 points in his last three

games.

The Clippers are looking to win back-to-back contests for the

first time since a season-best four-game run from March 2-9.