The short-handed Dallas Mavericks denied the Los Angeles Clippers a fifth straight NBA victory Sunday, dropping the Clippers from first place in the Western Conference with a 114-110 win.
Harrison Barnes scored 30 points to lead the Mavericks, who were without star rookie Luka Doncic.
But DeAndre Jordan, playing his first game against his former team, chipped in 16 points and 23 rebounds for Dallas, who notched a fourth win in their last five games even with Doncic sidelined with Doncic sidelined by a sore hip.
The Clippers had taken the lead for just the second time in the contest on Lou Williams’ three-pointer with 46.9 seconds remaining.
Barnes drove for a basket and missed but Mavs forward Dorian Finney-Smith tipped in the rebound to put Dallas back on top.
They led 112-110 when Dennis Smith blocked a shot by Tobias Harris and made two free throws to seal the win.
“I thought it was one of the best competitive things I’ve seen in a long time,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said of Smith’s effort.”He got switched and blocked the shot, got the rebound and made two free throws – winning plays.”
It was a bruising contest. Smith lost a tooth when Patrick Beverley’s elbow caught him in the mouth and the intensity ramped up from there.
Dallas forward Wesley Matthews was whistled for a technical foul and Beverley was ejected for. throwing a ball at a fan as the Clippers fell to 15-7 and ceded first place in the West to Denver.
Back in Los Angeles, meanwhile, the Lakers were coasting to a relaxed 120-96 victory over the struggling Phoenix Suns.
Kyle Kuzma led the Lakers with 23 points. Superstar LeBron James added 22 while sitting out the entire fourth quarter of the comfortable victory.
The Suns led by as many as 17 in a first quarter in which James characterized the Lakers’ play as “horrible”
But Los Angeles had cut that deficit to 10 points by the end of the period and out-scored the suns 40-15 in the second to seize control.
“I think we’re just getting better every day,” three-time NBA champion James said of the young Lakers team.
“We know what’s winning basketball for us that’s defending and sharing the ball.”
Anthony Davis powered the New Orleans Pelicans to a 119-109 victory over the Hornets in Charlotte, delivering 36 points, 19 rebounds, and eight assists.
Davis, who also came up with two steals and blocked two shots, set the tone early with 17 points in the first quarter.
From Online Sources