The Dallas Mavericks held off a second half charge by the Clippers to claim a 96-92 win. Things got interesting down the stretch as a late Dallas turnover gave the Los Angeles a chance.
Dirk Nowitzki put the Mavericks ahead 92-89 with just 41 seconds remaining. After Shawn Marion came up with a steal against Kenyon Martin, Nowitzki went to the line and extended the lead to 94-89 with just 21 seconds to go. Chris Paul wouldn't let the Clippers go quietly as he nailed a three to bring Los Angeles to within 94-92 with just 17 seconds remaining.
After a Dallas timeout, Jason Kidd's errant pass was picked off by Paul who rushed the ball up the court and into the waiting hands of former Maverick Caron Butler who missed the wide open look that would have given the Clippers the lead. Dallas secured the rebound and Delonte West closed things out from the free throw line.
Dirk Nowitzki finished with 22 points and seven rebounds to lead the Mavericks who improve to 18-11 on the season. Shawn Marion added 16 points while Brendan Haywood, Vince Carter and Delonte West each chipped in 10.
Caron Butler scored 23 points in his return to Dallas and Blake Griffin added 20. Chris Paul finished with 16 points and nine assists. Mo Williams and Kenyon Martin finished in double figures off the bench with 11 and 10 points respectively.