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Caron Butler Leads Mavericks Over Clippers

(Sports Network) – Caron Butler led all scorers with 17 points and Dirk Nowitzki added 16 points and seven rebounds, as the Dallas Mavericks earned a 99-83 decision over the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center.

Jason Terry went for 15 points, while Jason Kidd contributed 13 points, nine rebounds and seven assists for Dallas, which recovered from a 91-90 home loss to Memphis on Friday after opening the 2010-11 campaign with a win over Charlotte on Wednesday.

“Our first half was so-so. We had to come out and play a better second half and we did,” Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle said. “Our bench play was pivotal. A good win for us.”

Blake Griffin, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 draft, had a team-best 16 points to go along with nine boards for the Clippers, who dropped all three of their games to start the season and will try to give new head coach Vinny Del Negro his first win with the team on Monday night against San Antonio.

Chris Kaman had a double-double with 13 points and a game-high 13 rebounds for LA, which is off to an 0-3 start for the third straight season.

“We had some good looks, but we couldn’t knock them down,” Del Negro said. “In the third quarter we got stagnant and that didn’t help. It comes down to making plays and we didn’t move the ball well.”

Butler’s nine first quarter points helped the Mavericks grab a 27-23 lead after the opening 12 minutes.

However, Eric Bledsoe’s floater early in the second tied things at 31 and both sides would remain close for the rest of the first half.

Tied at 46-all with just over a minute before the break, Ryan Gomes made 1- of-2 from the free-throw line a short time later to give the Clippers a brief one-point advantage, but Kidd hit a 65-footer at the buzzer to give Dallas a 49-47 edge heading into the locker room.

Gomes opened the third with a layup to even the score before Nowitzki made a jumper to ignite a 14-3 run that put the Mavs up 63-52 after Tyson Chandler’s alley-oop dunk with 7:23 left in the quarter.

Dallas continued to dictate the pace for the remainder of the period and despite Al-Farouq Aminu hitting a three in the closing seconds, the visitors led 78-66 after three quarters.

In the fourth, the Clippers could only get as close as 11, 92-81, after Griffin made 1-of-2 from the line with 3 1/2 minutes to play.

Game Notes

Dallas has now won seven straight and 13 of its last 14 meetings between the teams. The Mavericks have also won four straight and 11 of its last 16 road bouts with the Clippers…Los Angeles guard Randy Foye missed the contest with a hamstring injury.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.