|Dallas Mavericks power forward Dirk Nowitzki (41), of Germany, shoots against Los Angeles Clippers power forward Blake Griffin (32) and center DeAndre Jordan (6) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Dallas, Monday, Feb. 13, 2012. (AP Photo/LM Otero)|
Nowitzki, Marion lift Mavs over Clippers 96-92
DALLAS—Dirk Nowitzki scored 22 points, 11 in the final 6-plus minutes, Shawn Marion added 16, and the Dallas Mavericks held on to beat the Los Angeles Clippers 96-92 on Monday night.
Jason Terry, Vince Carter and Brendan Haywood all contributed 10 points for the Mavs, who've won 10 in a row at home against the Clippers and extended their overall winning streak to four games.
Caron Butler of the Clippers scored a season-high 23 points against his former team, and Blake Griffin added 20 points.
Chris Paul had 16 points and nine assists for the Clippers, but Griffin's problems from the foul line cost his team as he missed seven of nine free throws.
The Clippers, who completed a 4-2 road trip, haven't beaten the defending NBA champs in Dallas since April 19, 2006.
Dallas took control with a 7-0 fourth-quarter run capped by Marion's layup with 4:48 remaining for an 86-83 edge.
Griffin had a chance to get the Clippers closer, but missed five straight free throws until connecting with 2:15 to play to pull his team within two points at 86-84.
Jason Kidd set up Terry for a layup with 2:02 left, and Nowitzki intercepted Griffin's pass with 1:47 showing, and drained two free throws to extend Dallas' edge to 90-84.
Griffin's three-point play with 1:24 remaining and Kenyon Martin's layup with 1 minute left narrowed the Mavericks' lead to 90-89.
Nowitzki drained a 19-footer from the right wing and, after Marion stole the ball from Martin, converted two free throws with 21.2 seconds left for a 94-89 advantage. Paul's 3-pointer with 17.8 seconds got the Clippers within two points, and Butler missed a 3-pointer with 4.5 seconds left.
Delonte West made two free throws with 2.9 seconds remaining to seal the victory.
The Clippers carried a 76-74 advantage into the final quarter.
Haywood worked inside for 10 of Dallas' first 22 points and the Mavs carried a 27-19 lead into the second quarter.
Dallas was in front at halftime 55-47 behind 22-for-38 field-goal accuracy (58 percent).
Butler, who received a championship ring from the Mavs in pregame ceremonies, got rolling early when he connected on his first three 3-point attempts in the first quarter.
The Clippers ended a 10-game overall losing streak against the Mavs on Jan. 18 with a 91-89 win in Los Angeles. Chauncey Billups hit the winning 3-pointer with 1 second left. Billups is out for the season with a torn left Achilles' tendon sustained in a game on Feb. 6.
Paul sat out the season's first meeting with Dallas due to a strained left hamstring.
Notes: Butler was a member of the Mavericks' title-winning team last season but missed the final 53 games of the regular season plus the playoffs with a ruptured right patellar tendon. Butler, signed by the Clippers in December as a free agent, made a spirited effort to get his knee healthy enough to contribute for Dallas in the playoffs and Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said before the game that Butler "was very close to being active for the finals. That's how hard he worked." ... Martin, who grew up in Dallas, played his fourth game for the Clippers since signing as a free agent on Feb. 3. ... Before the game, Carlisle called Paul "the best playmaker in basketball."