Mavericks-Clippers Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated December 04, 2012
Not only will the Dallas Mavericks be bringing some former Los Angeles Clippers into this matchup, they'll see some familiar faces as well. The Clippers can stretch their win streak to four Wednesday night and hand the Mavericks a third straight road loss. Dallas (8-9) features a pair of former Clippers big men in Elton Brand and Chris Kaman. While Brand has faced Los Angeles (11-6) six times since leaving the club following the 2007-08 season, this will be Kaman's first road game against the team he spent his first eight seasons with before being traded to New Orleans in the blockbuster deal that brought Chris Paul to the Clippers before last season. Kaman is fifth on the franchise's all-time list in games (493) and rebounds (4,109), while Brand is first in rebounds (4,710) and sixth in games (459). Dallas will see Lamar Odom for the first time since sending him to Los Angeles this offseason in a four-team trade. Odom averaged career lows of 6.6 points and 4.2 rebounds in a tumultuous 50-game stint for the Mavericks last season during which he had an argument with owner Mark Cuban in a 94-89 loss at Memphis on April 7. The Mavs probably have warmer feelings toward reserve forward Caron Butler, who is in his second season with Los Angeles after signing as a free agent following an injury-plagued tenure with Dallas. Butler earned a championship ring with the Mavs in 2010-11. One Dallas player looking forward to this contest is top scorer O.J. Mayo, averaging 20.2 points. This is Mayo's first game against the Clippers since last year's playoffs when he played for the Grizzlies in a seven-game, first-round series loss to Los Angeles. "It just makes me want to go that much harder, obviously," Mayo said. "You remember those games, those losses. You remember Game 7." The Clippers trailed by as many as 14 points before rallying for Monday's 105-104 victory at Utah. Blake Griffin had 30 points and 11 rebounds and Jamal Crawford added 20 points off the bench. "In the first half, it was almost a waste of time because no one showed up," coach Vinny Del Negro said. "Our defense was weak, we were soft and we had no toughness. ... But I was very pleased with the way we responded ... and made plays down the stretch." The Clippers scored 25 points off 17 turnovers. They lead the Western Conference in forcing 18.4 turnovers per game. Dallas coach Rick Carlisle has warned his team of that while also noting that the Clippers are allowing an average of 26.1 free throw attempts for one of the NBA's worst marks. "We've got to be good with the ball, they're great at forcing turnovers and we've got to be aggressive and get to the free-throw line," Carlisle said. "They're a team that fouls." Carlisle's team also fouls a lot, yielding a league-worst 27.9 free throws per game. The Mavs will also have to be wary of Paul, who is averaging 21.8 points against them in the regular season for his third-highest mark versus any opponent. Dallas is starting a three-game trip after ending a three-game slide with Saturday's 92-77 victory over Detroit behind Mayo's 27 points.
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