Clippers' offense stays on roll in win over Mavericks

Jon Gold, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

LOS ANGELES -- With the way the Los Angeles Clippers have been flashing their offensive balance in recent games, it's almost as if opposing teams have two basketballs to contend with. And both count.
The Clippers had six players in double-figures and hit the 100-point mark with five minutes left as they cruised to the 112-90 win over the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night at Staples Center.
By the end of the game, the Clippers' starters were waving towels on the bench as the deep set of reserves threw down alley-oops and rained down 3-pointers.
"We just feed off each other," Los Angeles guard Chris Paul said. "That's what is so great about our team, how close we are off the court. Nights like this, it translates to the court."
Jamal Crawford had 20 points off the bench to lead Los Angeles, which won the battle of bench scoring, 47-34. Blake Griffin had 19 points, 13 rebounds and five assists and Caron Butler added 16 points for the Clippers.
"It's great," Crawford said of the Clippers' chemistry. "It's great when you're winning. Guys are looking out for each other. Coach is doing a good job of keeping us prepared, and we're staying engaged."
Dallas offered a balance offense as well, only the Mavericks shot far worse than the Clippers. Dallas shot 41 percent from the field (34-of-84) to the Clippers' 50 percent (45-90), though the Mavericks hit 17-of-19 free throws.
With Los Angeles taking the 49-41 rebounding advantage and picking up 18 steals, the Mavericks could not make up for 22 turnovers.
"All I know is we have to take care of the ball against a team like that," Dallas veteran Vince Carter said. "They gamble, play the passing lanes. You're not going to beat them if you don't take care of the ball. You won't have a chance. We gave them extra possessions and let them do what they do best."
Added Griffin: "It's tough -- we're extremely athletic. (DeAndre Jordan) runs the floor, (Paul) pushes the ball, we have guys who can shoot. It's kind of pick your poison on offense, so that has to be our main focus, our defense."
Carter had 16 points to lead five Mavericks in double-figures, and recently signed Derek Fisher had 15 points in his second game of the season after having just two against Detroit on Saturday in his season debut.
Los Angeles never trailed as it built a nine-point lead less than seven minutes into the game and stretched the advantage to 20 by the end of the first half.
"Dallas has got their big gun out in Dirk (Nowitzki), and he's been their stabilizing force for a long time," Del Negro said. "We jumped on them early and it was a good win for us.
NOTES: Los Angeles won last season's series with Dallas, 2-1. It marked the first season series win for the Clippers over the Mavericks since 2004-05. ... The two teams are very familiar with each other, not just because of the frequent court time. Los Angeles' Caron Butler and Lamar Odom are former Mavericks, while Dallas' Chris Kaman and Elton Brand are former long-time Clippers. ... Los Angeles was without Grant Hill (knee), Trey Thompkins (knee) and Chauncey Billups, who was a late scratch with peroneal tendonitis in his left foot. The injury is listed as day-to-day, but expected to keep him out for an extended period, though it is unrelated to the Achilles' injury from which he recently returned. "It was something I really wanted to get checked out because I felt like I worked too hard to get back to play hurt," Billups said. "Yeah, it's still early. I knew coming back, I would deal with a lot of other things in my body that were trying to catch back up to the speed of playing in real games. I think that this is part of the process." ... Nowitzki took a key step forward in his rehab, resuming running and taking shots prior to Wednesday's game. Nowitzki has been sidelined all season after undergoing arthroscopic right knee surgery in mid-October, but he hopes to return in a few weeks.

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