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L.A. Sports Fans Celebrate as Clippers Cruise Outpace Mavericks

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It’s a great night in the city of angels.

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Los Angeles Clippers Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Blake Griffin and Austin Rivers led the way tonight as the Clippers got back on track against the Dallas Mavericks, ending a two-game slide with a 119-98 victory at STAPLES Center.

Griffin had 20 points, 7 assists, and 6 rebounds, while Austin Rivers added 19 points of his own to go with 3 assists. Among the other starters, Patrick Beverley contributed 8 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists while DeAndre Jordan added his standard 13 points and 9 rebounds. One of the more impactful performances came from Danilo Gallinari, who posted 14 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists in what was his best game so far in a Clipper uniform.

After a lackluster start that saw the Clippers fall behind early and limp to a narrow lead at the end of the first quarter, a change-up in the second unit put together a run that opened the game up for L.A. Doc Rivers inserted Montrezl Harrell into the second unit in place of Willie Reed, providing a much needed spark, and an unlikely lineup of Lou Williams, Sindarius Thornwell, Wesley Johnson, Gallinari, and Harrell brought the Clippers back.

From that point on, even when the starters re-entered the game, the flow and cohesion was superior, more closely resembling the Clippers first four wins than their two recent losses. It was a nice return to form for a team that is still doing its best to carve out an identity early in the post-Chris Paul era.

Harrelly was excellent off of the bench, adding 8 points and 8 rebounds, while Lou Williams was the leader of the second unit with 17 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists on 5-8 shooting. Sindarius Thornwell continued to be a reliable bench piece despite lacking a glamorous box score, and Wesley Johnson continued to cement his place as the main forward off of the bench.

Sam Dekker, Brice Johnson, and Jawun Evans all got some chances as well due to the Clippers’ big lead. I expect that as the season goes on, Dekker will be worked into the rotation, but Johnson and Evans seem less likely to see minutes. Johnson was really out of sorts after having the Clippers decline his team option last night, and Evans—while exciting—showed some of the flaws that caused him to drop to the second round in last summer’s draft, over-penetrating against longer defenders and ending possessions with difficult floaters and turnovers.

The Clippers will look to keep the momentum going over the weekend, with back-to-back matinees against the Memphis Grizzlies and Miami Heat.