In many ways, it was more of the same for Dallas on Tuesday, with the Mavericks posting a white-knuckle, 103-101 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers for their sixth consecutive home victory.
In their five most recent triumphs, the Mavericks — who will host the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night looking to extend their home winning streak — have won each game by five points or less. Dallas blew a 25-point lead against the Clippers, only to hold on late thanks to a flurry of 3-pointers in the fourth quarter.
Dallas shot 7 of 11 from 3-point range in the final period, with Reggie Bullock scoring all of his 13 points in the quarter on 4-of-5 shooting from deep.
The Mavericks also received 21 points from Dorian Finney-Smith, who made seven 3-pointers, and 16 points from Spencer Dinwiddie to complement another sensational performance from Luka Doncic, who had 35 points, 11 rebounds, five assists and three steals.
“We’ve played a lot of close games and we’ve given up a lot of big leads, so just like we drew it up,” Mavericks coach Jason Kidd said with a smile. “I thought the group handled the situation with grace in the sense that things just weren’t going our way but we didn’t self-destruct. We stayed together and found a way.”
Kidd said he was largely unconcerned over the heavy minutes logged by his starters in the front half of a back-to-back, with Dinwiddie (41 minutes), Doncic (40) and Finney-Smith (36) in particular doing the heavy lifting. Decision time came during the day on Wednesday as Doncic will be held out to rest.
Dallas will need greater contributions from its reserves against Houston, both in terms of minutes and points as Christian Wood accounted for all 15 of the bench points vs. the Clippers.
After playing 10 of their first 13 games on the road, the Rockets returned home on Monday seeking a rejuvenating performance. Instead, Houston surrendered a 10-2 run late in the first quarter and trailed throughout to the Clippers in a frustrating 122-106 defeat.
Once the Clippers established a double-digit lead late in the first period, they essentially maintained that advantage for the remainder of the game. The Rockets managed bursts here and there but couldn’t overcome their shortcomings and the Clippers’ precise shooting.
The Rockets’ 11 first-half turnovers yielded 16 points for the Clippers prior to intermission. The Rockets also allowed Marcus Morris Sr., Reggie Jackson, Luke Kennard and Nicolas Batum to shoot a combined 10 for 20 on 3-pointers.
And despite occasional success with dribble penetration and drawing shooting fouls, the Rockets missed 12 of 31 free throws.
Aiming to play well in their return home, the Rockets instead produced an effort that left several members of the rotation openly frustrated as the Clippers kept Houston at bay.
“It definitely can be (frustrating),” Rockets coach Stephen Silas said. “It can be when you do a good job of protecting the paint and they kick it out and make a 3. It can be when you’re doing a great job of getting downhill and getting into the paint and getting to the free-throw line but then you’re missing free throws.
“There’s a lot than can be the source of frustration, but we can’t let that beat us.”
–Field Level Media