LOS ANGELES (AP) — Paul George scored 12 of his 29 points in the third quarter and the Los Angeles Clippers ended a two-game skid with a 97-91 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday.
Reggie Jackson scored eight of his 23 points in the third, when the Clippers turned a one-point halftime deficit into a nine-point lead. The Clippers improved to 7-0 when Jackson has 20 or more points, all since Nov. 3.
“When he is aggressive scoring the basketball, making the right play, we are a tough team to beat,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said. “For him to step up and be that second scorer behind PG, we need that a lot. When he plays well, we play well.”
Kristaps Porzingis had 25 points and eight rebounds as the Mavericks played their third consecutive game without star Luka Doncic because of a sprained left knee and ankle.
Jalen Brunson scored 20 points for the Mavericks, who have lost all three games without Doncic to open a four-game road trip.
“I thought we had a lot of great looks at 3 that were just short tonight for whatever reason,” Mavericks coach Jason Kidd said of his team that was just 20% (6 of 30) from 3-point range.
“In that fourth quarter, when things weren’t going well, I thought we improved to give ourselves a chance to win on the road.”
The Mavericks led by as many as nine points in a rough-shooting first half in which both teams shot under 42% from the field. The Clippers rallied to pull within 47-46 at halftime.
The Clippers shot 55.6% (10 of 18) in the third quarter, getting half of their made shots from 3-point range while taking a 71-62 lead.
The Mavericks pulled within 78-75 on Tim Hardaway Jr.`s 3-pointer with 7:33 remaining before the Clippers went on a 9-0 run for an 87-75 lead.
“It’s been a process, honestly,” Jackson said. “There are games when we play well and there are games where we hit these lulls and are still trying to figure each other out. . I think we all just found easier shots today.”
The Mavericks appeared to pull within 94-91 with 52 seconds remaining after a basket by Brunson, but a foul on the Clippers’ Terance Mann was rescinded and the basket was taken away. Jackson then scored inside to give the Clippers a 96-89 lead with 29 seconds to play.
“I thought he got fouled and made a great play,” Kidd said. “It’s a strange play because we lose the two points and then we lose the ball. It puts you in a difficult situation coming down the stretch.”
Ivica Zubac had 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Clippers in the opener of a six-game home stretch.
The teams were meeting for the first time since the Clippers staved off elimination in the first round of last season’s playoffs by winning Game 6 and 7 to advance.
The Clippers revealed that F Nicolas Batum was placed into health and safety protocols for at least 10 days. It’s the latest personnel hurdle for a team that is without star Kawhi Leonard (knee) indefinitely.
“It’s next-man-up mentality and hopefully we get some help soon,” Zubac said. “That stuff, you can’t control what happens and you have to have that (positive) mentality and I think we do. Everyone has to stay ready and everyone will get a chance.”
Batum has averaged 9.8 points and 5.5 rebounds, but has scored in double digits just once since a 22-point game on Nov. 9 against the Portland Trail Blazers as he recently dealt with Achilles tendon soreness.