DALLAS -- The Los Angeles Clippers don't seem to mind falling behind the Dallas Mavericks by a double-digit margin.
It seems to be right up the Clippers' alley.
For the third time this season Thursday night, the Mavs blew out to a double-digit lead over the Clippers. And for the third time the Clippers fought back to win the game.
Chris Paul bounced back from a poor showing Wednesday night in New Orleans to pour in 31 points and hand out nine assists as the Clippers defeated the Mavs, 109-103, at American Airlines Center.
It was a game the Mavs seemingly had in hand after they scored the first 10 points of the fourth period to lead 91-81. In fact, Dallas led 93-82 with 8:40 left following a pair of free throws by Monta Ellis.
From there, the basketball court appeared to cave in on the Mavs as they couldn't sustain the lead and couldn't contain the Clippers.
"We didn't get stops in the clutch,'' said Jae Crowder, who scored 13 points on 5-of-5 shooting. "Going into the fourth quarter we didn't score the ball when the chance was given to us in the clutch, so we came out on the bad end of it tonight.''
The Mavs still led 101-97 with 1:46 left after a basket by Ellis. But the Clippers ended the game on a 12-2 run and ran their record to 3-0 against the Mavs this season.
It was reminiscent of the Clippers-Mavs matchup in Dallas on Jan. 3. The Mavs led that game by 11 points in the second quarter and 110-103 with 4:05 left, but got outscored 16-2 the rest of the game and wound up losing 119-112.
It also was reminiscent of the Mavs-Clippers matchup in Los Angeles on Jan. 15. The Mavs led that game 123-106 with 4:48 left, but got outscored 21-6 the rest of the game and wound up losing 129-127.
"I think tonight we just didn't get good looks,'' guard Devin Harris said. "We took some tough shots with a minute, minute-and-a-half to go.
"We couldn't get anything to fall an defensively we had some lapses wheree we gave up some layups and some easy baskets. We've got to do a better job of executing.''
-- Dwain Price
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