How it happened: Both squads picked up from where they left off nearly two weeks ago, combining for 134 points and 16 3-pointers in a first half that saw precise offensive execution and little defensive success. (The teams combined for 137 points and 17 3s, respectively, on Jan. 3.) Despite shooting 50 percent, the Mavs trailed 72-62 at intermission, in large part because the Clippers shot a blistering 56.8 percent. Redick -- 23 points and 6-of-8 from deep -- was a difficult cover for Monta Ellis, especially.
In the third quarter, Dallas used a 16-7 run midway through the frame to get within a point at 86-85 before Los Angeles promptly stretched the lead to 100-91 with 2:47 remaining. The Mavs closed the quarter strong, though, scoring seven quick points to cut the deficit to two at 100-98.
The first 7:12 of the final frame featured nearly flawless basketball by Dallas, as the Mavs rode their momentum from the third quarter to a 25-6 run and 123-106 lead. From that point on, though, the Mavs collapsed, getting outscored 23-4 by the Clippers. Ultimately, Dallas -- ranked 19th in defensive efficiency heading into Wednesday’s contest -- couldn’t get the necessary stops with the game on the line and blew a double-digit lead with three minutes remaining.
Dirk Nowitzki (27 points, eight rebounds) led the Mavs with his usual All-Star-level production, while Samuel Dalembert (20 points, seven rebounds) was surprisingly effective. Jose Calderon (16 points), Shawn Marion (14) and Brandon Wright (13) also scored in double figures.
What it means: The Mavs (23-17) have yet to find their defensive identity halfway through the season. There were stretches of defensive competence in the second half, but their effort was inconsistent overall. It cost them another winnable game against a top-tier opponent.
Play of the game: With 20 seconds left and the Clippers down 127-126, Crawford -- defended by Marion at the top of the key -- isolated the Mavs' best one-on-one defender and drove right. He jump-stopped, pump-faked and drew a controversial foul call on Marion with 11 seconds remaining. Crawford sank both free throws, giving the Clippers a 128-127 lead and the victory.
After being on the beneficial end of a few controversial calls recently, the Mavs’ luck caught up to them.
Stat of the night: Four. That's the number of times the Mavs have had a 17-plus point lead and lost the game this season.