The Dallas Mavericks continued their playoff seeding push last night, beating the Los Angeles Clippers by a bizarre score of 75-73. When I first saw that score, I just assumed that a bomb threat must have emptied the Staples Center midway through the third quarter. But no, that was the actual final score, which is about what you'd expect when one team "outshoots" the other team 37.3 percent to 35.2.

N'DongFun Fact: The Clippers have a player on their roster named Boniface N'Dong. That's a fun name to say. His official NBA profile has no information whatsoever, but, according to Wikipedia, he's from Dakar, Senegal. I know I shouldn't laugh. I'm sure my name looks strange to people from Dakar. But still...N'Dong. Heh.

The real story of the game, though, was the duel between Dirk Nowitzki and Chris Kaman. You read that correctly: Nowitzki and Kaman. Believe it or not Kaman (22 points, 12 rebounds, 1 assist) was winning the duel through the first 47 minutes and 59.93 seconds. That was when Dirk (20 points, 14 rebounds, and 2 assists) overcame a dreadful 1-for-10 second-half shooting slump to hit a jumper, sealing the deal on the Mav's current 5-game winning streak. And, fittingly, he hit the shot over Kaman.

Dirk vs Kaman
Nowitzki scores on Kaman, while Mobley admires
the lemon-fresh scent emanating from Dirk's pits.

As recently as a two weeks ago, the Mavs were mired in a 3-game losing streak, capped off by a terrible 108-99 loss to the Orlando Magic. As has often been the case over the last few years, the words "soft" and "also rans" started creeping into any and all conversations about the Mavericks. But then they did something they haven't done in the past: the Mavs responded. Their 5-game streak includes impressive wins over the Nuggets, Kings, Spurs, Hornets, and now the Clippers. Not bad.

One week left to overcome the Spurs, thus jumping from the fourth seed to the first. Of course, they'll need to run the table and hope the Spurs drop one. Tick, tick, tick...
Anonymous Anonymous said...
If the Clips weren't intentionally trying to lose the game so they don't have to see Dallas in the first round, they would have had James Singleton on Dirk for that last play. Singleton is much more athletic and actually blocked one of Dirk's 20-footers when he was guarding him on a switch earlier in the quarter.