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Clippers beat Mavericks for 13th straight home win

The SportsXchange

LOS ANGELES -- Step-by-step, game-by-game, highlight-reel-alley-oop-by-highlight-reel-alley-oop, the Los Angeles Clippers are gradually turning Los Angeles from Laker Land to Clipper Corner.

But while around town, the flags might be slowly turning from purple and gold to red, white and blue, the confines of Staples Center are quickly becoming friendlier to the Clippers.

Reserve Matt Barnes scored 19 points to help lift Los Angeles to its 13th consecutive home win with a 99-93 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night.

The Clippers have won three straight games after a two-game losing slide that followed their team-best 17-game winning streak, and Wednesday they did it with the same blueprint that delivered them such early-season success.

Barnes hit five 3-pointers to boost the Los Angeles effort, which lagged a bit as the starters struggled. The Clippers' starting five had just 56 points -- including 19 for Chris Paul and 15 for Blake Griffin -- but the Barnes-led bench outscored Dallas' reserves, 43-19.

"I'm shooting the ball well right now," Barnes said. "Coach (Vinny Del Negro) has confidence in me to take the shots, and even when I miss shots, coach keeps telling me to shoot."

Los Angeles' starting unit may not have lit up the scoreboard themselves but it contributed in other ways. Paul had 16 assists with just three turnovers and added five rebounds. Griffin chipped in 13 rebounds and three steals and Caron Butler had two crucial offensive rebounds in the game's final minute to go along with 11 points.

Del Negro went with Butler over potent scorer Jamal Crawford down the stretch to maximize a size advantage in the post.

"It was tough," Carlisle said about Butler's two offensive rebounds. "We had two good stops, and being unable to finish it off with a rebound, in a one possession game ... that's tough."

Added Del Negro: "We were able to either post up Vince (Carter) or isolate (O.J. Mayo) and Caron came up with some big rebounds down the stretch, which were great. That worked out for us, just getting a little more size out there."

The size advantage was obvious: Los Angeles out-rebounded Dallas, 47-34, and blocked six shots, which helped negate 21 turnovers, including six in the second quarter alone.

"Way too many," Del Negro said. "It's not only the points you don't get. But they're on a break, causing problems, spreading you out. Look, (Darren) Collison got going in the first half, and we couldn't control his penetration."

After leading for the entire first half, at one point claiming a nine-point advantage, the Clippers found themselves trailing 75-65 after a 25-10 run by the Mavericks (13-23) midway through the third quarter. Dallas shot 53 percent from the field in the third while holding the Clippers (28-8) to just 36 percent shooting.

Los Angeles, though, responded with a 27-10 run of its own to reclaim the momentum midway through the fourth quarter.

That Dallas was still in the game in the first half was a credit to Collison. The fourth-year guard out of nearby UCLA had 15 points in the second quarter on 6-of-8 shooting as his teammates went 3 for 13.

Collison finished with 22 points to lead Dallas, which had four starters in double-figures. O.J. Mayo had 17 points and Dirk Nowitzki had 15 on just 5-of-13 shooting in his third start this season after scoring 20 in each of the first two.

"Words can't express it right now," said Shawn Marion, who had 11 points and seven rebounds for the Mavericks, who have lost four straight and 10 out of 11. "This is painful. To be losing like this, when we were so close. We just find a way to bite ourselves in the ass. When we get right there, we do something to mess it up."

NOTES: The Mavericks signed veteran free-agent guard Mike James to a 10-day contract on Jan. 8 to fill their roster at 15 after releasing Chris Douglas-Roberts on Jan. 6. James, who most recently played for the Texas Legends of the NBA D-League, has averaged 10.4 points and 2.6 assists in his 10-year NBA career. ... The Clippers won the teams' only other matchup this season, defeating Dallas 112-90 on Dec. 5, 2012. Crawford, who has led Los Angeles in scoring most of the year, had 20 against the Mavericks in the win. He had 11 points on Wednesday night after missing two games with a sore foot. ... The Clippers and Mavericks rank fourth and fifth, respectively, in fast-break points per game. ... It took Los Angeles just 35 games to hit the 27-win mark -- the Clippers previous best was 43 games, in 1974-75. They needed 48 games to reach 27 wins last season.
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