Paul pulls the strings as Clippers slice up Mavs

(Reuters) – Chris Paul orchestrated another Los Angeles Clippers triumph with a season-high 16 assists as he pulled the strings in a 99-93 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday.

With the game evenly poised heading into the closing stages, Paul scored or assisted on eight of his team’s 10 field goals in the fourth quarter to lift the Clippers to a franchise-record 13th straight home win.

Los Angeles had trailed 83-82 with nine minutes remaining but an 8-0 run, highlighted by a pair of three-pointers set up by their point guard, gave them the momentum the Clippers needed to pull away for the victory.

Chris Paul
Chris Paul

“Our maestro Chris Paul was finding guys, getting to the paint and making good things happen,” Los Angeles forward Caron Butler told reporters.

Paul finished with 19 points to tie reserve Matt Barnes for the team-high in scoring. Blake Griffin added 15 and 13 rebounds.

“That’s the identity of our team – every night it’s going to be a collective effort,” Butler added. “We’re building something truly special here.”

While the Clippers (28-8) are riding high with the NBA’s best record, the Mavericks (13-23) have lost four straight and appear unlikely to make the playoffs on current form.

Darren Collison led Dallas with 22 points and Dirk Nowitzki added 15 as he continues his rehabilitation from knee surgery that sidelined him until late last month.

The Mavericks fell behind early but they surged in the third where they took a 10-point advantage before Los Angeles scored the final seven of the quarter.

In the end, Dallas were undone by their inability to grab a rebound. Los Angeles beat the Mavericks 47-34 on the glass and snagged a few key offensive rebounds in the last few minutes to halt the visitors.
Top reserve Jamal Crawford returned to the lineup for the Clippers after missing two games with a sore left foot.

“I’m not all the way there obviously,” said Crawford, who had 11 points. “I figured 50 percent was better than zero.”

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