DALLAS – Corey Brewer took advantage of a rare start by scoring 20 points and Peja Stojakovic scored all 10 of his points in the fourth quarter, lifting the Dallas Mavericks to a 107-96 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers to keep their hold on the Western Conference playoff race.
The Mavs had lost four straight since beating the Clippers a week ago Wednesday and would've slipped to the fourth seed with a loss. Dallas trailed by 16 in the first quarter, then took control with a 22-4 spurt in the third.
The Mavs sat Jason Kidd for a second straight game to rest him for the playoffs, and didn't use guard Jason Terry after he barked at teammate J.J. Barea during a huddle early in the second quarter.
Mo Williams scored 29 points and Blake Griffin had 23 points, nine rebounds and six assists for Los Angeles. The Clippers had beaten playoff-bound teams in two of their last three games, but they were without center Chris Kaman (sprained right knee) and they lost guard Eric Bledsoe to a sprained right knee.
Dirk Nowitzki had 20 points, eight rebounds and a season-best seven assists, and Shawn Marion had 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Mavericks. Stojakovic's late scoring spree gave Dallas six players in double-figures, including Barea and Tyson Chandler with 15 each. Chandler had missed the two previous games with a back injury.
The Clippers were far more into this game than the Mavericks at the start, prompting Dallas coach Rick Carlisle to call multiple timeouts in hopes of getting his guys to play some defense and stop turning the ball over. Los Angeles led by 16 after the first quarter, scoring more points in the paint (20) than the Mavericks had overall (19).
Carlisle stopped the game again with 9:54 left in the second quarter following another breakaway layup. While players were gathered, Terry griped at Barea until Carlisle forced him to the end of the bench. Team owner Mark Cuban spent the timeout following the blowup speaking alone with Terry, aside from the rest of the club. He was the first one to the locker room at halftime and the last to return, missing the first few minutes of the second half.
Dallas eventually began going to the rim — over and over again. The Mavericks finished with 58 points in the paint, more than the Clippers' 42. Chandler made all six of his shots, mostly from around the rim.
Barea was part of Dallas' big turnaround in the third quarter, starting the second half in place of Kidd's fill-in, Rodrigue Beaubois. Beaubois got his first two shots blocked and later missed a dunk; he was fouled on that play but still didn't get anything out of it, missing both free throws. He didn't score a point in 25 minutes, missing seven shots.
Carlisle said before the game that Brewer would get enough minutes to show whether he deserves to be in the playoff rotation. Since joining the team March 31, he'd sat out nine games and scored a total of 38 points in the other nine, including one start. He finished 8 for 16, with six rebounds, four assists, four steals and a blocked shot. He capped his night in style, stealing an inbounds pass and feeding Nowitzki for a dunk in the final minutes.
NOTES: Dallas improved to 9-9 since an 18-1 streak. ... The Clippers have dropped 10 straight to the Mavericks. ... Nuggets coach George Karl said he would prefer to play Dallas rather than Oklahoma City in the playoffs. Said Carlisle: "To me, more than anything, this means George has completely beaten cancer and is back to his old self." ... Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said he expects Kaman to return for at least one of the last two games. He was hurt Wednesday night in a loss to Oklahoma City.