[Note by Steve Perrin, 01/16/14 2:39 AM PST ] Note that I was originally planning to be out of town Wednesday night during the Mavs game. As such, I had asked Citizen Erik O to write the recap. Then my plans changed and I was able to attend, but I completely forgot that I had made a contingency. So the good news is: double recap for the citizenry! It was such an exciting game, it deserved two recaps, don't you think? At any rate, be sure to read Erik O's terrific recap as well for more insights and perspective on this exciting win.
In the craziest game you ever want to see, the Los Angeles Clippers gave up a big lead, fell behind late, and then staged a furious comeback to beat the Dallas Mavericks in the final seconds., 129-127. The Clippers showed no ability to stop the Mavs the entire game -- at least not until the final five minutes. Dallas had 123 points with 4:48 remaining, but the Clippers closed the game on a 23-4 run (not to mention the final 11) to steal a another precious victory without Chris Paul.
J.J. Redick scored 33 points on 14 shots and hit the crucial three with 34 seconds remaining to pull the Clippers to within one. Jamal Crawford, who had struggled all game, then drew a foul with 11 seconds remaining and hit two free throws to put the Clippers ahead.
There were so many weird things in this game:
The Mavericks, a very poor offensive rebounding team, had a season high 17 offensive rebounds in the game. In a bizarre twist, the vast majority of those rebounds in the first half were balls that went right through a Clipper player's hands.
Redick and Matt Barnes combined to make 12-19 from beyond the three point line. The Clippers as a team hit 17-34 and needed every one of them. They hit four threes in the final 4:03, and also got three free throws being fouled shooting a three.
In addition to the three point field goals and the three shot foul, the Clippers also benefited from a technical foul called on Vince Carter that created another three point possession and a flagrant foul on Sam Dalembert after a made three that all added up to a six point possession. Coming back from a big deficit, getting more than three points at a time is crucial, and the Clippers did it on almost every trip down the stretch.
The technical and the flagrant both resulted from Mavs players getting tangled up with Blake Griffin -- and both times it was veterans. Griffin also got a double T with Dirk Nowitzki and had a prolonged discussion with Shawn Marion at one point. Most opposing players dislike Griffin at least a little -- veterans simply despise the guy. I don't know why exactly, but going back to Andre Miller's open field tackle on Blake a few year's back, if there's a guy over 30 on the other team, you can be pretty much certain that he has an issue with Griffin.
It was pretty great benefiting from the opponent targeting Blake, rather than being punished for it as was the case against the Warriors. All the extra-curricular activity put extra points on the scoreboard for the Clippers. That's as it should be.
Because the Mavs really couldn't handle Griffin, they went him to the line 16 times. Griffin started 3-6 -- but made his final 10 in a row. That's useful in a comeback as well, of course.
In the final three minutes, Doc Rivers played a lineup of Darren Collison, Crawford, Barnes, Redick and Griffin. He went offense-defense with substitutions where possible, but it wasn't always possible of course. Consequently, on multiple key defensive possessions down the stretch, Redick was defending Nowitzki one-on-one. Dirk, who had 27 points in the game, missed his final four shots, including those he took against Redick. J.J. couldn't bother the shots much of course, but he did at least make Dirk work for them.
The Clippers hit 100 with 2:47 remaining in the third quarter on a Matt Barnes three. It was the second game in a row where they hit the century mark with a quarter remaining. Apparently the Clippers have been around Lawler's Law a little too long, and they didn't fully realize that it's just a catch-phrase and not an actual law. It's certainly not something you want to rely on with almost 15 minutes of basketball left.
But evidently feeling assured of the win because of the Law, the Clippers essentially stopped playing for 10 minutes. After leading 100-91, they gave up 15 straight points and a 32-6 Dallas run to fall behind by 17. That is of course what set up the Clippers' own comeback, but it should never have come to that.
You often hear that this game or that game has been "a game of runs." But a 14-6 Clippers run in a little over two minutes, immediately followed by 32-6 for Dallas over a 10 minute stretch, immediately followed by 23-4 for the Clippers over the final 4:30 is ridiculous. I cannot remember any game with more wild and distinct momentum swings.
There's so much more to say about this game -- but it's almost too much. It was immense fun -- despite the Clippers' horrendous defense. Here's how much fun it is. I won't get back from STAPLES until well after midnight tonight -- at which point I'll watch the entire game again on the DVR.
The Clippers leave for New York in the morning to start their seven game trip. It will be long, and could feel really long depending on how things go -- it's a good thing they got a home win on Grammy trip eve.