Published March 27, 2013
DALLAS – Dirk Nowitzki scored a season-high 33 points, including the first eight in overtime, and the Dallas Mavericks beat one of the top four teams in the Western Conference for the first time this season with a 109-102 victory against the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday night.
Chris Paul also had a season-high 33 for the Clippers, who lost the opener of a four-game road trip that makes three stops in Texas.
The Mavericks improved to 1-11 against the top four teams in the West and pulled within a game of the Lakers for the final playoff spot.
Nowitzki put Dallas ahead for good at 101-100 on a jumper, and the Clippers went 4 minutes without a field goal in overtime. Matt Barnes shot an air ball on a wide-open 3-pointer with the Mavericks leading 103-100 in the final 30 seconds.
The game went to overtime after a wild final 5 seconds in regulation starting with a go-ahead layup by Paul. O.J. Mayo answered when he slipped the ball in from behind the backboard to tie the score at 97-all with 0.6 seconds left.
With coach Vinny Del Negro signaling for a timeout, the Clippers threw it in anyway. Blake Griffin caught the ball in the lane and flipped it in the basket in one motion, but was called for an offensive foul for pushing Nowitzki before the ball arrived. Dallas got the ball back but was 70 feet from the basket and couldn't get a shot off.
A game-time decision because of a sore left knee, Paul was strong from start to finish. He had 10 points in the first quarter and scored the last 10 of regulation and the first two of overtime.
In the final minute of regulation, Vince Carter put Dallas ahead with two free throws before Paul answered quickly. After a turnover by Carter, Paul hit a tough layup on the baseline, setting up Mayo's tying bucket.
Griffin and Caron Butler had 14 apiece for Los Angeles, and DeAndre Jordan had 11 rebounds.
Mayo finished with 11, while Carter had 14, and Collison 13. Nowitzki led Dallas with nine rebounds.
The Mavericks led 90-89 when Paul fell after a jumper and Mike James was called for a technical after picking up his fifth foul for getting under Paul, who slightly turned his ankle on James' foot. Paul hit two of the three free throws, then had a jumper after a Dallas miss for a 93-90 lead.
Dallas got even at 93-93 when Mayo converted a three-point play after getting fouled by Paul on a jumper in the lane.
Lamar Odom was booed loudly when he entered and every time he touched the ball in his first trip to Dallas since a disastrous 2011-12 season with the Mavericks. He was so unhappy, they put him on the inactive list late in the year even though they were fighting for playoff survival. He averaged a career-worst 6.6 points for Dallas, but is setting a new low at 4.1 per game in his return to the Clippers, his first team.
Even when he wasn't playing, Odom kept showing up on the big video screens above the court, drawing more boos. He almost matched his season average with four points in the second quarter and finished with six points and six rebounds.
Caron Butler — a much less visible, and more popular, former Dallas player, hit two 3-pointers on a 9-2 run to start the second half, putting the Clippers up 57-52. Butler finished with 14.
Los Angeles led by as many as nine in the third quarter, but the Mavericks finished the quarter on a 13-3 run that included a one-handed dunk from guard Darren Collison after a Dallas steal.
NOTES: James led the Mavericks with 19 points in Sunday's win over Utah. It was the highest point total in more than four years for the 11-year veteran. ... Nowitzki passed Patrick Ewing for 17th on the all-time scoring list in the first quarter. Ewing had 24,815 points. ... Griffin got a technical foul during a time out with 7 seconds left in third quarter, and Collison made a free throw to break a 73-all tie entering the fourth. ... Jamal Crawford got a technical after hitting a shot early in the fourth quarter and complaining that no foul was called.