Game Notes: Mavs at Clippers
by Ben Collins
As if anybody else was going to take that shot.
Chris Paul was out. Chauncey Billups just got burned on a double-screen on the possession before and needed to atone. Chauncey had this Gran Torino type moment, minus all the racism. He was inbounding with four seconds left, down two. Billups gave it to Blake Griffin, then a hand-off came back to him at the elbow extended.
Awfully predictable for an old man. Dude wanted to get home early so he could watch his Wheel of Fortune at an unreasonable volume, and he wanted to do this happy.
So he nailed his three and floated away. Clippers won 91-89, just like that. It was a late closeout by the Mavs, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that a man who escaped from the Titanic hit a game-winning shot in 2012.
The season so far is one big late closeout for the Mavs. Yes, they’re third in the league in defense, but that seems empty. There’s no flow on either end. Dirk finally admitted after the game that he’s hobbling, that he’s been dragging around a shaky knee since the start of the year, and it’s starting to make sense of some things.
Maybe it’s fixable by season’s end. Maybe it isn’t.
But the fourth best player on the Clippers is one of the best clutch players ever and even they aren’t being called contenders yet.
I mean, really? Stop trying to be too cool for a team this good. This team has size and stars and playmakers and toughness and—yes—old, veteran guts. Chauncey had them strewn across the corner by the three point line last night.
The Clippers are contenders. It’s not because we found out Chauncey can still hit shots like this, but it sure as hell doesn’t hurt.
- DeAndre Jordan makes Brendan Haywood look like a Keebler Elf right away. Three putback attempts to start the game. The last one goes in. 2-0, Clips.
- Chauncey’s got seven of the Clippers’ first nine without CP3. 3-for-3, all on pullup Js.
- Welp, Dirk’s being left largely alone so far. He’s got five right away on two open Js.
- Chauncey. Stepback J. Ten of their first 14. 14-9, Clippers.
- Lamar’s getting booed here for no real reason. Other than the fact that his girlfriend is in a polyamorous relationship with him and 70 uncooked hot dogs.
- Haywood on the break. He’s been surprisingly aggressive since DeAndre Jordan teabagged everyone he’s ever met in the first play of the game.
- Foye to Griffin on a vicious alley-oop. Blake’s arm is above the square. Swear to Jesus. The whole crowd is up. NBA Jam-esque throwdown.
- Mo Williams taking advantage of the fact that you can lob the ball to any city in the state of California and DeAndre Jordan will make it go in a hoop in the Staples Center. 27-27.
- If I’m at the Roddy Beaubois Coming Out Party 2.0 tonight, I may have an “I Just Love Cats So Much” moment tonight. He hits a J. Clips lead 31-27 to end the first.
- He’s been cold, but Dirk is killing it with second chance stuff tonight. No one’s retreating on threes from offensive rebounds, so he got six free points, handed to him by Barack No-bama’s socialist, fascist government.
- Just checking to see if you were paying attention.
- Mo Williams is 6-of-6 with two threes. The last one was contested. He’s just like Chris Paul, but only once a year, like Santa Claus.
- No Blake + No Paul = Tremendous Sadness + 13-3 Mavs run. Two straight Mahinmi buckets.
- Brian Cardinal just broke up a lob to Blake Griffin. I’ll be reevaluating my life now.
- I’ll start by apologizing to ex-girlfriends.
Dear Danielle, Annie, Kim Kardashian, Uffie, Ke$ha, Ted Haggard (it was a long Memorial Day Weekend),
I’m sorry I was so insistent upon the broccoli thing and I shouldn’t have put you on that plane to Panama.
Ben Collins, still not the father.
- Cardinal just did his requisite “Don’t go in the paint!” maneuver to Blake Griffin, which was actually kind of weaksauce in hindsight, a basic armdrag pulldown. This kind of star deserves something like a Stone Cold Stunner or maybe a Mexican Christmas.
- I don’t know what that is. I just know that it’s disgusting.
- Dallas has one less offensive rebound (8) than defensive rebound (9). Three of those netted them free threes, like that last one by Delonte. 47-41, Dallas.
- Billups and Mo Williams each have 14 on a combined 11-of-14 shooting. Every other guard and small forward? No points, 0-for-7.
- Delonte has hit the deck three times this game. That’s three times more than he something something LeBron’s mom something something. This time, hoop and harm.
- Literal rim-rattling dunk on a Mo Williams lob to Peru that DeAndre caught and threw down.
- Delonte on the floor again. I still haven’t looked up Mexican Christmas yet, but we need to start calling him that.
- Reggie Evans gets a couple of offensive boards and is totally slaughtered by Dirk. Evans then hits a free throw, and it is the most exciting thing that has ever happened at the Staples Center. 52-51, Clips.
- Genuinely surprised at the lack of people yelling “NO TOUCHING” around Kim Kardashian as she struts a marry-me gait directly in front of us all.
- Extreme fetch, starring border collies.
- The Mavs have 14 offensive rebounds and 11 defensive rebounds. This is both great and terrible.
- Mexican Christmas has 17 after coming out hot. It’s a sultry Mexican Christmas.
- DeAndre gets another lob. This time for a layup. He and Blake have traded lives today. He’s got 14 and 8 in 22 minutes. Clippers lead 59-53.
- Dirk gets T’d up because he wanted a call on extra contact.
- Your Finals MVP is getting murdered trying to man up on DeAndre Jordan. Don’t get why he’s assigned there and Haywood is tasked with Blake. DeAndre goes over him and Dirk gets his third foul. 64-57, Clippers.
- Chauncey to Blake on the break. Holy cow, these two.
- I’m only saying this because they’re eight feet in front of me and for the first time actually human beings, but if you were to think about the Kardashians in any normal context, wouldn’t it be weird how much these two people hang out with their mom?
- Reggie Evans picking fights again, this time with Brendan Haywood. He’s just doing his job. We get a loud “Reggie! Reggie!” chant in here because Reggie Jackson was great in BASEketball, and the whole crowd wants him to know about it 14 years later.
- Remember when Randy Foye was traded for Ricky Rubio? Because he was. He and Caron Butler are a combined 1-for-14.
- Blake has rounded into form this quarter. He’s getting chopped up in the paint. 68-67 Clippers, and he’s going to the line. This quarter: A very physical three points, four boards, and one Reggie Evans chant that I’ll attribute to him for no real reason.
- I don’t know if this is coming across on TV, but the Clippers really do not like Lamar Odom.
- Ian Mahinmi ties this thing up with a last-second layup to end the third. 71-71 going into the fourth. He’s becoming a real, French rock for that second unit.
- I’m sure there is a famous French rock out there, but I am completely lost without you, Wikipedia.
- Should be a fun fourth quarter. Offense will probably be a lot of Mo Williams and Blake/DeAndre pick and rolls. Dirk has looked rusty, but not off, per se, so they’ll go to him on elbow isos in the last four minutes.
- Mavs D looks borderline staunch with Mahinmi in the middle. He’s becoming very smart about when to double and recover on pick and rolls. It doesn’t hurt that you really don’t have to guard Reggie Evans.
- As hard as Reggie is working here (he just got another chant for his hustle), he’s -16 in plus/minus tonight. Reggie Evans means no Blake or DeAndre, and no Blake or DeAndre means this team is the Toronto Raptors.
- Kim Kardashian was just booed mercilessly. Like Rick Santorum at a RENT matinee.
- It’s 75-75. Crowd wants Dirk to get his second technical for stopping a fast break particularly aggressively. He looks very, very frustrated on offense.
- The Clippers will take that non-call, actually. Chauncey on a swung three. That guy’s still got it. 18 for him. 78-75.
- Here was a nice back and forth:
Baxter Holmes, SLAM friend and LA Times reporter next to me: “Dirk is playing poopy.”
Dirk: “I will hit a three now.”
- LA looks like they’d be the much better team with Paul. I know I said that about every team that played the Mavs in the playoffs last year, but it seems truer now.
- Delonte is on the ground again. No call. He’s the Boy Who Cried Mexican Christmas.
- Mavs come out of this timeout with no Dirk. Two immediate buckets. One over Dirk’s replacement, Lamar, for a putback.
- Seriously, what the hell was that?
- Timeout. Dirk’s back in.
- Ian Mahinmi gets a goaltend and a foul call. 82-81. Clippers, Brendan Haywood is on the bench in a money coma, and that might be the way the starting lineup ends up pretty soon.
- Clippers are a little jumbled up without Paul. But Mo Williams creates a pick and roll in the corner and hits a pullup. He’s got 26.
- Another Blake offensive board. 16th rebound.
- Kidd with a pass wrapped in filth to Marion. 84-83, Clips.
- DeAndre Jordan gets a dish in the lane from Caron Butler and flushes. 86-83, and the Mavs are running out of post-dunk timeouts.
- Rick Carlisle’s gonna put Vince Carter out there in that boot and have him try to heave some threes.
- Blake. Again. Killing everybody, this time with a skying lay-in.
- DeAndre. Enormous, violent block. No one is sitting in this whole place.
- Mahinmi has some balls and poise. Right at Blake (who gets his fifth) to draw some free throws.
- He misses both. He has some balls and poise and something stuck in his throat.
- A steal, then a very covered Jason Terry pull-up three. This is what a nervous arena sounds like. 88-86, Clippers with 36 seconds left.
- Jumpball. Sort of a questionable call on a rebound, and Dirk might’ve had possession. Dirk and DeAndre. 20 seconds exactly. Not sure it’s humanly possible Dirk can win this tip.
- DeAndre wins the tip, but there’s a big scramble. Chauncey might’ve lost it out of bounds. They’re replaying it. They’re not showing it on the jumbotron, so it must be Mavs’ ball.
- Yep. Mavs ball. 15 seconds left. Should be Dirk at the elbow. Don’t get fancy.
- Terry wide open on a double screen. Years of daylight for a pull-up three. Drains it. 89-88, Mavs.
- Clippers ball. Five seconds left exactly. Chauncey, right?
- Mo dribbles it off his leg. Going to the monitors once more, but it looks like it’s Mavs ball.
- Nope. Clippers ball.
- Chauncey, right?
- Yep. Handoff from Blake. Three from the elbow extended. 91-89, Clippers.
- One second left exactly. Timeout.
- Dirk, right?
- Nope. Ian Mahinmi.
- Ian Mahinmi.
- Seriously. Ian Mahinmi.
- 91-89, Clippers.