DALLAS (AP) - The Los Angeles Clippers have not tired of inflicting fourth-quarter pain on the Dallas Mavericks.
The Clippers rallied from a 10-point deficit in the final period to beat the Mavericks 109-103 on Thursday night. Los Angeles has won all three meetings thus far, with second-half rallies in each game.
Each meeting has also featured plenty of emotion. On Thursday, the teams combined for six technical fouls charged to players on the floor, three on each team.
“We need to start playing like that more often, to tell you the truth,” Chris Paul said after leading Los Angeles with 31 points, a night after going 0 for 12 in a two-point loss in New Orleans.
“We knew it was going to be a playoff-type game. They’re not just playing for their playoff lives; we’re trying to gear up for the playoffs, too.”
The Clippers got double-doubles from Blake Griffin (18 points, 13 rebounds) and DeAndre Jordan (16 points, 15 rebounds).
Los Angeles maintained its one-game lead over Houston for third place in the Western Conference.
Vince Carter scored 23 points off the bench for the Mavericks, going 4 for 5 on 3-pointers. Dirk Nowitzki had 21 points but only two in the fourth quarter.
“It’s tough. It’s very frustrating,” Carter said. “But we fought like hell to give ourselves a chance to win, and that’s all you can do.”
Samuel Dalembert was questionable going into the game for Dallas because of a stiff back. He started, played 22 minutes and led the Mavericks with 11 rebounds - all in the first half.
The loss dropped Dallas a half-game behind Phoenix and into ninth place in the tight race for the final playoff berths in the West.
The score was tied at 81 going into the final period before the Mavericks ran off the first 10 points. Los Angeles chipped away and tied it at 101 on a drive by Griffin. Dallas then committed a backcourt violation when a pass from Nowitzki back to Jose Calderon near midcourt went astray. Griffin followed with a spinning runner to give the Clippers the lead for good at 103-101.
Griffin was pleased with the defense that he played on Nowitzki, who was 7 for 15 from the floor.
“For the past how many years, everything I’ve heard is the things I couldn’t do,” he said. “One of the many things I can’t do is play defense.
“I take pride in the things I can’t do. I just use that as motivation.”