How it happened: Despite a strong third-quarter effort, the Dallas Mavericks ran out of steam Wednesday night against the Los Angeles Clippers continuing their downward spiral with a 99-93 loss to the team with the NBA’s best record.
Point guard Darren Collison led the Mavericks with 22 points, but only five of those came in the second half. He made 7 of 11 shots for 17 points to lead all scorers at halftime.
The Mavs took their first lead of the game, 58-57, on Shawn Marion’s 3-pointer early in the third quarter. They led by as many as 10 following Collison’s 3-pointer with just over two minutes left in the third, but the Clippers finished the quarter on a 7-0 run.
The Clippers stormed back and took a brief lead on Chris Paul’s steal and breakaway layup with 9:05 remaining in the fourth, sparking a comeback that had the sellout crowd jumping.
Shooting guard Vince Carter missed a jump shot that would have cut the deficit to two with under seven seconds remaining.
What it means: The Mavericks are 2-13 (.133) dating to Dec. 2, tying the Washington Wizards for the worst record in the NBA over that stretch. It’s the worst span for Dallas since the 1999-2000 season, which also marks the last season in which the Mavericks missed the playoffs. The Clippers have now won their last three games against the Mavs, their longest winning streak against them since 2006.
Play of the game: There weren’t any of those trademark lobs inside Staples Center but Lamar Odom had an impressive dunk over Chris Kaman in the first half, which probably left Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle wondering where that athleticism was last season.
Stat of the night: Matt Barnes tied a season high with five 3-pointers made, helping the Clippers’ bench outscore the Mavericks’ 43-19. He and Paul each had 19 points to lead the Clippers.