DALLAS -- Even when the Clippers lost their composure Thursday night, they still found a way to own the Dallas Mavericks.
Even though the Clippers have trailed the Mavericks in the fourth quarter in each of their games this season, Los Angeles still found a way to own Dallas.
With Chris Paul leading the offense and Blake Griffin playing lockdown defense, the Clippers overcame three technical fouls and a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit to defeat the Mavericks for the third straight time this season, 109-103, at American Airlines Center.
“I told them before the game, it's going to be an emotional game, it's going to be a playoff game because Dallas [is] fighting” for a playoff spot, Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said.
“I told them if you don't meet their energy, you're not going to win because they're fighting for their lives right now. And you've got to act like it's a playoff game, and I thought our guys for the most part met that challenge.”
Paul had to overcome his own personal challenge. He had missed all 12 of his field goal attempts Wednesday night at New Orleans and scored just two points.
But Paul came back strong against the Mavericks, scoring 31 points on nine-for-18 shooting, including four for eight on three-pointers.
“I came over to the arena early today,” Paul said. “Just shot a little to see the ball go through.”
Griffin had 18 points, breaking his 30-game streak of scoring at least 20 points in a game. His basket with 33.1 seconds left gave the Clippers a 103-101 lead they never relinquished.
He also had 13 rebounds and played strong defense against Dallas' All-Star forward Dirk Nowitzki, who had 21 points.
Griffin's defense forced Nowitzki into missing all six of his shots in the fourth. He also blocked one of Nowitzki's shots and forced him into throwing the ball into the backcourt for a turnover with 38.9 seconds left and the scored tied at 101-101.
“He's a great player and he's going to score,” Griffin said. “He's going to get shots, so I just tried to make it tough for him.”
The game got chippy with 9:24 left in the third quarter when Paul pushed Shawn Marion in the back. Marion bumped into Matt Barnes as he was going out of bounds, and the two squared off.
Barnes and Marion were given double technical fouls and Paul all was given a technical foul for taunting.
Monta Ellis and Griffin were called for technical fouls in the third.
Still, the Clippers stayed the course, even when they were down 11 points with 8:28 left in the fourth.
They had come back before against the Mavericks, outscoring them 16-2 in the final 3:51 to win a game here in Dallas and erasing a 17-point deficit in 4:40 to win at Staples Center.
“We just keep fighting,” Paul said.
“Obviously, we have to get better because we're a very emotional team. This game was crazy — y'all saw it — but I'm happy we came out with the win.”Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times