Mavericks-Clippers Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated January 08, 2013
While their franchise-record winning streak came to an end earlier this month, the Los Angeles Clippers are hoping to keep another impressive run going a little longer. The Clippers will try to extend their franchise-record home winning streak to 13 on Wednesday night when they host the struggling Dallas Mavericks. Los Angeles (27-8), which owns the NBA's best record by a half-game over Oklahoma City, won a club-record 17 straight overall before back-to-back road losses at Denver and Golden State Jan. 1-2. The Clippers, however, haven't stopped winning at home since suffering a 105-98 loss to New Orleans on Nov. 26. After beating the rival Lakers 107-102 on Friday to match the record of 11 established in 1978-79 - the franchise's first in San Diego - Los Angeles set the new mark with a 115-89 victory over the Warriors on Saturday. "We've been pretty good at home,'' Chris Paul said. "It's all about our fans, and we feed off them. So we've got to keep making this a tough place to play." Paul finished with 27 points and nine assists on Saturday despite exiting after Los Angeles had built a 96-60 lead with 2:40 left in the third quarter. The perennial All-Star has averaged 26.7 points on 55.1 percent shooting in his best three-game stretch of the season. After averaging just 9.7 points while shooting 33.3 percent from the field in his previous three games, Blake Griffin has bounced back with 44 points on 17 for 28 shooting in his last two contests. Griffin had 19 points and 13 rebounds in the Clippers' 112-90 victory over the visiting Mavericks on Dec. 5 as Los Angeles outscored Dallas 62-30 in the paint. The Clippers rank among the league leaders in points in the paint (47.0 per game) and are 23-2 when they score at least 40 in the lane. Los Angeles outscored its last two opponents 108-64 in the paint without shooting guard Jamal Crawford, who is again questionable after missing those contests because of a sore left foot. Crawford, who had a game-high 20 points in the first meeting against Dallas (13-22), ranks among the top-scoring reserves in the NBA at 16.5 points per game. The Clippers have averaged 107.1 points during their 12-game home streak, more than five points better than their season average (101.9). That's bad news for Dallas, which is 1-13 on the road when opponents score 100 points or more. The Mavericks have lost eight of nine away from home and 12 of 14 overall, dropping their third straight with a 100-94 loss at Utah on Monday. Even with Dirk Nowitzki back in the lineup, Dallas has dropped nine of 10 - with its only win coming at league-worst Washington on Jan. 1. "I know one thing: we're going to keep on pushing,'' said Nowitzki. "I'm going to keep on getting in better shape.'' After scoring 11 points or fewer in his first five games back from knee surgery, Nowitzki has put up at least 19 in his last three. The Mavericks have begun showing some signs of life offensively as Nowitzki has rounded into form, averaging 100.5 points on 45.6 percent shooting in January. They had averaged 92.3 points while shooting 42.5 percent in their final nine games in December. The Clippers are seeking their fourth win in five games against Dallas following a 10-game skid in the series.
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