Clippers 99-93 win over Mavericks extends home streak to 13 games
Team weren't at their best, but Chris Paul's 19 points was enough to take 13th in a row in LA
The Los Angeles Clippers looked like the team with the NBA's best record in stretches. They were flat and sloppy at other times, and still pulled out the win.
Chris Paul had 19 points and 16 assists in beating the Dallas Mavericks 99-93, extending the Clippers' franchise-record home winning streak to 13 games.
"We'll take the win, but we know we can play better," Paul said. "We came out a little flat, but it's not going to be merry every night. It's a good win for us to grit it out and fight it out against a tough team."
Matt Barnes added 19 points off the bench, and Blake Griffin had 15 points and 13 rebounds for the Clippers (29-8), who took sole possession of the league's best record from Oklahoma City with their third straight win overall.
"We're not going to win pretty all the time," Barnes said.
Vinny Del Negro earned his 100th victory in his 184th game as Clippers coach, making him the fastest to reach the century mark in franchise history. But he was in no mood to note the occasion, clearly irked by his team's defensive breakdowns and their 21 turnovers.
"It wasn't a very productive game," Del Negro said. "We weren't as consistent as we need to be. We had so many turnovers it was hard to get a rhythm offensively. When we're struggling offensively, we've got to lock down defensively.
"We got the win but we need to play much better than we did tonight."
Darren Collison scored 22 points for Dallas. O.J.Mayo added 17 and Dirk Nowitzki had 15. At 13-23, the Mavs fell 10 games below .500 for the first time since March 30, 2000, two months after Mark Cuban bought the team. They've lost four in a row overall and three straight on the road, where they are 5-16.
"This is painful right now, to be losing like this when we were so close," Shawn Marion said. "It seems like when we get right there, we're going to do something to mess it up. We played a solid game, but it just seemed like the little things kept adding up and it killed us."
LA led the entire first half, fell behind by 10 points in the third quarter and then regained the lead for the first time in the fourth on a Paul steal and lay-up that made it 82-80. They took the lead for good on Barnes' three-pointer that keyed an 8-0 run.
"In the fourth quarter, we needed to stay with the aggressiveness," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. "But they turned it up and we just didn't get it done. We've got to keep working. We've got to do a few things better, get some more rebounds and knock down some more shots."
Former Clipper Elton Brand added: "It's disheartening losing these games. I haven't been through a stretch like this in a long, long time. We've been competing in most of these games, and we just have to find a way to close them out and win them."