Setting the Table: Los Angeles Clippers (Game 18)

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on December 5, 2012 under Previews | Be the First to Comment

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It seems like forever and a day since there has been some basketball for Dallas. The Dallas Mavericks (8-9) are on the road to take on the Los Angeles Clippers (11-6). Starting Wednesday against the Clippers. The Mavericks will play six of their next seven games on the road (until 12/15 at Minnesota). The game at Philadelphia on 11/27 began a stretch for the Mavericks in which they will play 16-of-23 away from the American Airlines Center (at Philadelphia 11/27-at Sacramento 1/10). Dallas is 0-2 on the road thus far in the stretch.

Here are notes for the game between the Mavericks and the Clippers.

Series Notes:

The Mavericks have won 17 of the last 20 regular-season meetings with the Clippers, but the Clippers took the 2011-12 season series, 2-1. The Clippers snapped a 10-game losing streak against the Mavericks with a win at Los Angeles on 1/18/12. The loss came in dramatic fashion as Chauncey Billups hit a game-winning 3-pointer with 1.0 second remaining to give the Clippers a 91-89 victory. It was their first win over the Mavericks since 11/9/08 (defeated Dallas 103-92). The Mavericks have taken nine of the last 12 meetings in Los Angeles. Shawn Marion averaged 10.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 2.0 steals and 30.3 minutes in three starts against Los Angeles last season. Vince Carter averaged 6.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.0 steals and 27.0 minutes in two starts against the Clippers last year.

It’s a Small World:

There are connections aplenty between the Mavericks and the Clippers. Chris Kaman was drafted by Los Angeles with the sixth overall pick of the 2003 NBA Draft and played his first eight seasons with the Clippers from 2003-11. Kaman was traded from the Clippers to New Orleans along with Eric Gordon, Al-Farouq Aminu and a 2012 first-round draft pick in
exchange for Chris Paul and two 2015 second-round draft picks (12/14/11). Kaman (Grand Rapids) and Clippers guard Willie Green (Detroit) both hail from Michigan. Elton Brand played seven seasons with the Clippers from 2001-08. Brand (Cortland) and Clippers forward Lamar Odom (Queens) were both born in New York and played on the same AAU team as teenagers. Brand and Odom were also teammates on the Clippers from 2001-03. Odom appeared in 50 games (4 starts) for the Mavericks in 2011-12 and averaged 6.6 points and 4.2 rebounds. Odom and Mavericks guard Derek Fisher were teammates on the L.A. Lakers from 2007-11 and won back-to-back NBA championships together in 2009 and 2010. Fisher played a season-and-a-half with Clippers forward Matt Barnes on the Lakers from 2010-12.

Clippers forward Caron Butler played a season-and-a-half for the Mavericks from 2010-11 and averaged 15.1 points in 56 games (56 starts) with Dallas. Butler was a member of the Mavericks’ 2011 NBA championship team. Darren Collison was the back-up point guard behind Chris Paul in New Orleans his rookie year (2009-10). When Paul was injured, Collison stepped in and averaged 18.8 points, 9.1 assists (most among rookies in starts) and 3.5 rebounds in 40.3 minutes. Collison grew up in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., and played four seasons at UCLA (2005-09). Collison finished his career 16th in UCLA history in points scored (1,639), second in steals (231) and tied for first in games played (142). Collison was a college teammate of Clippers center Ryan Hollins at UCLA during the 2005-06 season. Hollins was traded to Dallas for DeSagana Diop in 2008-09 and appeared in 27 games for the Mavericks
that year.

Clippers guard Chauncey Billups and Mavericks guard Dahntay Jones made up the Nuggets’ starting backcourt when Denver reached the Western Conference Finals in 2008-09. Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle coached Billups for one season when they were both with the Detroit Pistons in 2002-03. Clippers forward Grant Hill was born in Dallas and his father, Calvin Hill, was a running back for the Dallas Cowboys. Mavericks assistant coach Tony Brown came to Dallas after serving as an assistant coach with the Clippers in 2010-11. Clippers assistant coach Robert Pack played four seasons with Dallas from 1996-2000. Clippers player development coach Howard Eisley also played for the Mavericks during the 2000-01 season.

Three Keys:

1. The bench must continue to produce. The Mavericks have outscored their opponent’s bench in 14 of their first 17 games. Dallas’ bench is averaging 41.5 points per game this
season, which ranks second in the NBA. The Mavericks have scored a season-high 58 bench-points on two occasions (vs. Charlotte 11/3/12 and vs. L.A. Lakers 11/24/12). Dallas ranked third in the NBA in bench scoring in 2011-12 (41.0 ppg) and led the league in bench scoring in 2010-11 (40.4 points per game). The Clippers can hold their own in the bench scoring department. They are fourth in the NBA in bench scoring with a 40.4 point per game through 17 games. With weapons such as Jamal Crawford and Eric Bledsoe, the Mavericks’ bench will have their hands full.

2. Get back in transition. With Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordon running on the break, the Mavericks will need their transition defense to be sharp. If they’re not clicking, Lob City will run the Mavericks out of the gym. Jordan and Griffin are both ranked among the top 5 in the NBA in total slam dunks. Jordan ranks third in the league with 37 dunks. Griffin is tied with Tyson Chandler for fourth in the league with 35 dunks.

3. Have the point guards set the tone. Turnovers have been a major issue for the team. Derek Fisher and Darren Collison need to bring poise and control to the team, especially going up against Chris Paul. Turnovers will put the transition defense in a bind. With the ball, sharing is caring. The Mavericks need to use ball movement to their advantage. Dallas handed out 28 assists in the win over Detroit on 12/1. The Mavericks improved to 4-0 on the season when they record 25-plus assists in a game.

Bryan Gutierrez writes about sportsmen. He is a contributing writer for Mavs.com. Bryan also attended Ball So Hard University. You can follow him on Twitter @BallinWithBryan.