The boos were loud and frequent at the American Airlines Center on Wednesday night, as Texas native DeAndre Jordan made his first appearance in Dallas since spurning the Mavericks in free agency last July.
But for four quarters on Wednesday night, we were reminded of the greatness that is Dirk Nowitzki. The big German turned back the clock and looked like a man on a mission, leading all scorers with 31 points and 11 rebounds en route to a 118-108 Dallas victory.
Dirk’s rampage not only got the Mavericks back to .500 at 4-4, but erased the memory of the blowout loss in New Orleans less than 24 hours ago.
The Clippers got off to a good start, opening the game with a 35 point first quarter. But unlike past games where the offense has wilted down the stretch, tonight the playmakers stepped up. Wesley Matthews had his best game to date in Dallas, as he and Dirk combined for 56 of the Mavericks 118 points.
Dallas also out rebounded Los Angeles 44-41. Zaza Pachulia was a big reason why, recording a double-double on 10 points and 10 rebounds.
“Our guy shoots 90 percent at the free throw line,” Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle said, comparing Pachulia to Jordan. “And we love him.”
There were six lead changes in the fourth quarter, with both teams see-sawing back and forth. It wasn’t until Dirk banked a three in off the glass that the Mavericks took the lead for good at 103-98.
“This is a fun team,” Carlisle said. “They have a lot of collective knowledge.”
It may only be the eighth game of the season, but this one just had a playoff vibe to it. Both teams seemed to get under each others skin while Clippers coach Doc Rivers, forward Blake Griffin and guard Austin Rivers all picking up technical fouls in the game.
Chandler Parsons was in street clothes, sitting out on the second night of the back-to-back and with Dallas in the midst of its only four games in five nights stretch of the season.
“We have a plan with Parsons. It’s just where we are right now,” Carlisle said.”
Dallas welcomes Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers to town on Friday night. Tipoff is set for 7:30 CST.
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