Mavericks Cure the Clippers' Ills : Pro basketball: Harper scores 32 points in 105-98 victory.


There wasn't anything wrong with the Clippers that a game against the lowly Dallas Mavericks couldn't solve.

The Clippers, who had lost two consecutive games and three of their last four, defeated the Mavericks for the second time in five days, 105-98, Tuesday night before 12,290 at Reunion Arena.

Guard Ron Harper, who scored a season-low three points in Monday night's 110-98 loss at San Antonio, scored 32 points to match his season high as the Clippers (5-5) won on the road for the first time this season.

"He's been in a slump and it was good to see him come out of it," Clipper Coach Bob Weiss said of Harper.

After making only five of 18 shots in his last two games, Harper made his first four against the Mavericks and 13 of 18 overall in 40 minutes. Harper, who scored 17 points in the first half, scored 11 in the third quarter as the Clippers overcame an eight-point deficit to win their ninth in a row over the Mavericks.

"I had some shots that fell tonight early and I just kept on shooting the ball," Harper said. "I don't worry about slumps. That's y'all's idea. I just go out and play.

"I don't care what shooting percentages mean. I don't care what free-throw percentages mean, it's what a player does on the court."

Harper made four of seven shots, including a three-pointer, as the Clippers outscored the Mavericks, 15-8, in the final 4 1/2 minutes of the third quarter to tie the score at 70-70 going into the final 12 minutes.

After Harper made a jumper over Jim Jackson in the third quarter, the Maverick guard turned to his teammates and asked: "What can I do about that?"

Jackson couldn't do much to stop Harper as the Mavericks (1-9) remained winless in five home games.

"You play Ron to try to stop the drive and make him hit the jump shots," Jackson said. "He was just hot. We all tried to stop him-- myself, (Jamal) Mashburn, (Derek) Harper. We got in his face, but he was hot."

Harper's recent slump coincided with a report that Andy Roeser, Clipper executive vice president, had threatened to trade Harper, who is reportedly seeking a $20-million, five-year contract, unless the Clippers can sign him. However, it might be difficult for the Clippers to trade Harper, because he's making $4 million this season and could become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.

"I don't (care) what Andy says," Harper said. "He can say whatever he wants to say, and I'll take it with a grain of salt as long as he sends my pay check on the first and 15th. I'm here to play basketball."

The Clippers, who made 67% of their shots in the fourth quarter, opened the quarter with a 7-0 run to take command.

Loy Vaught, who matched a season high by scoring 24 points and also had a game-high 11 rebounds, scored eight fourth-quarter points, making both of his shots and all four of his free throws.

Vaught said that Weiss motivated the Clippers by benching four starters at the start of the second half of Monday night's 12-point loss at San Antonio.

"I think Coach's statement was that he just wants guys out there that are giving an effort and playing hungry," Vaught said. "To know that he'd actually take out the starters and put in the second unit, that says something about guys working hard and we got the message."

Guard Mark Jackson, who had 17 points and 11 assists, had eight fourth-quarter points, and forward Mark Aguirre scored seven of his 16 points in the fourth quarter.

Clipper Notes

Clipper forward Danny Manning, who has been sidelined six games because of a cracked left ring finger, will be re-examined today by Dr. Norman Zemel, a hand specialist. Manning is eligible to come off the injury list for Saturday night's game against the Houston Rockets at the Sports Arena. . . . The Miami Herald reported Tuesday that the Miami Heat has resumed trade talks with the Clippers for Manning. However, Heat officials denied the report and Ron Grinker, Manning's agent, said he knew nothing of the reported talks. "We don't know a damn thing and could (not) care less at this point," Grinker said.

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