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NBA Game Summary - LA Clippers at Dallas

(Thursday, January 20th)

Final Score: Dallas 99, LA Clippers 77

Dallas, TX (Sports Network) - Dirk Nowitzki scored 28 points and grabbed eight rebounds to lead the Dallas Mavericks past the Los Angeles Clippers, 99-77, at the AmericanAirlines Center. Jason Terry added 15 points for the Mavericks, who won their third straight game and eighth in 10 tries.

Dallas was playing its first game without head coach Don Nelson, who had surgery on Thursday to repair an almost completely torn right rotator cuff. He is expected to miss 10 games or more before rejoining the team in two to three weeks.

The 64-year-old Nelson stated earlier this week that he has needed the surgery for the past eight years. He said the rotator cuff was 90 percent torn and that the origin of the injury might go back to his days as a college player at Iowa.

Avery Johnson manned the sidelines for the Mavericks, who are grooming him to be Nelson's eventual successor. Johnson coached four games earlier this season, three with Nelson as his assistant and another after Nelson was ejected in the second minute.

"This was a sweet win for us," said Johnson. "We have a tough stretch of games coming up, but I am really proud of the guys effort tonight. I�m really proud of their concentration all day long. We had a really good shootaround this morning, very focused and it carried over into the game."

Elton Brand had 24 points and 14 rebounds, while Bobby Simmons contributed 16 points and 12 boards for Los Angeles, which dropped its fourth consecutive game and fell to just 2-6 over its last eight games.

With the score knotted at 66 late in the third period, the Mavericks scored seven straight points, capped by a Jerry Stackhouse steal and dunk, to grab a 73-66 advantage. Corey Maggette stopped the spurt with a long jumper just inside the arc, but the Clippers still trailed by five heading into the final period.

Dallas carried its momentum into the final 12 minutes, as it opened the game's first double-digit advantage early in the stanza. Things just got worse from there for the Clippers, who fell behind 90-71 on a Nowitzki three-pointer with just over five minutes remaining.

Nowitzki's basket capped a 24-5 run the bridged the final two periods, as the Clips went nearly eight minutes in the fourth without a field goal. Dallas eventually went up by as many as 22 and cruised to the victory.

Los Angeles managed just nine points in the final quarter, the lowest for a Dallas opponent this season..

"The defense that we played in the second half is the type of defense I know this team can play," Johnson added. "We played really good defense in the second half. We probably played 30 minutes of defense, but I am looking for 38-42. I need longer stretches of defense and to finish it off with rebounding."

The Mavericks, who were 6-of-9 from three-point range in the final quarter, are now 22-0 when leading after three periods. Conversely, when they trail heading into the final stanza they are just 1-11.

Dallas stormed out to a 7-2 advantage, as the Clippers opened the game by making just one of their first 10 shots. LA, though, fought back and eventually grabbed the lead at 15-14 on a Rick Brunson basket with five minutes to play in the opening quarter,

After the poor shooting to start the contest, the Clippers closed the stanza by making 10 of their final 17 shots and held a 29-20 advantage after the first 12 minutes.

The Mavericks scored the first eight points of the second and went ahead, 32-31, on a Shawn Bradley dunk three minutes in. The teams then traded the lead back-and-forth before Los Angles closed the half with a 9-2 run to carry a 48-42 advantage into the locker room.

Brand was a beast in the first half for the Clippers, scoring 15 points and grabbing eight boards.

"Very discouraging not to come out with this one," said Brand. "Especially the effort we put forth in the first half to be up by six. We thought we had a chance to win this one. They hit shots and our turnovers really, really hurt us."

Game Notes

This was the first of three meetings this season between the teams. The Clippers are scheduled to host the Mavericks on January 24th and on March 2nd at the Staples Center...Nowitzki has scored more than 20 points in 12 straight games and has scored in double-digits in all 36 games he has played in this season...Dallas is 15-7 in its building and has won eight of their last nine at the AAC...The Mavericks are 4-1 in games with Johnson at the helm...LA dropped to 5-11 away from home this season. It will wrap up a three- game trek on Saturday against the lowly New Orleans Hornets...Clippers guard Kerry Kittles (groin) is not with the team.

01/20 23:56:10 ET

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