The LA Clippers faced off against the Dallas Mavericks in Dallas tonight and it was a It was a closely contested game between a team that's not quite out of the playoff picture and a team desperate to prove they belong.
The Clippers led most of the game, even grabbing a nine point lead late in the third quarter. It looked like the Clips had this one in the bag several times in regulation. Chris Paul put the Clips in the lead with a drive in the paint, putting the Clips up by two with five seconds left... but OJ Mayo made a baseline drive against Paul and scored to even the score. A moment later, a court-length pass by Matt Barnes to Blake Griffin seemed to result in in a winning basket with less than a second on a clock but Griffin was called for an offensive foul and the game went into overtime.
Dallas up by three with 1:15 remaining in OT. The ball went off Matt Barnes foot and Dallas took possession. With thirty seconds left, Chris Paul disrupts Vince Carter, and the Clips are down by three with the ball.
Matt Barnes shoots the three and hits... air. Game over, Dallas wins. Chris Paul played great scoring 33. But Blake Griffin vanished in the second half, consistently passing up open looks at the basket. The Clips shooting was terrible, and the bench contributed nothing. Were it not for Chris Paul the Clips would have lost by twenty.
The Clips squander a great opportunity to gain some ground in the playoff race and it could get worse, with a game starting in New Orleans just nineteen hours after this one finished. Chris Paul also played forty minutes despite a healthy Eric Bledsoe on the bench.
Right now, the Clips slip to fourth place in the Western Conference, half a game behind Denver, half a game in front of Memphis. Standings are here. The box is here.