The night started as if it might be 'Barbershop'-level fun. It ended with the menace of 'The Wire.'…
Mavs 109, Clippers 102: Video Donuts
DONUT 1: First Impressions: Mavs 109, Clips 102 ...
Whatever the Dallas Mavericks are lacking -- and against the top five teams in the West, they are lacking victories -- they aren't lacking for want-to.
A gutty 109-102 overtime victory over the Clippers late Tuesday night pulls Dallas to within one game of the eighth and final playoff seed in the Western Conference. It's just the second win against a top-five club in the conference, and yet ...
"It's a good time to be playing your best basketball of the season,' said Dirk, who scored 33 points to outduel Chris Paul and to help his Mavs do just that.
The NBA highlight reel:
We've got the First Impressions breakdown of the game here.
DONUT 2: Dirk's State of the Union Address ...
"I think the last time we were one game under .500 was in November so it's been a long time,'' said Dirk Nowitzki, who is only off by a little bit as Dallas was actually a game under .500 on Dec. 14. "We've fought an uphill battle all season long, but honestly I think we're playing our best basketball of the season right now.
"I'm feeling better and we've got to keep this momentum going. We only have so many games left and we've got some big home games coming up and then we go on a big road trip so we just have to let it all hang out and see what happens."
If the 35-36 Mavs get a win on Thursday against the visiting Pacers? Yup. A .500 record and a barber will be in the postgame locker room to shave off those beards.
From "Clippers'' to "clippers.'' Get it?
DONUT 3: Rick: 'Grit and Guts' ...
"The spirit is high; it's really good,'' coach Rick Carlisle said. "I guess in general that is the best way I can put it. The guys are playing for something. They are playing to get back on the winning side and for a playoff spot. There is a lot of pride in the locker room and I am proud to be a part of this group. It is an eclectic roster. We have a lot of guys who can do a lot of different things and the coaching staff has to mix and match and pull guys in and out a lot of times. But, the guys roll with it and that's why we are able to get some momentum here."
DONUT 4: Who deserves 'The Dirkie'? ...
Dirk Nowitzki scored 33 points, a season-high. Did he get enough shots? I would argue that he did, with a season-high-tying 21 shot attempts (making 12) to reach his total.
And he outscored the entire Clippers team in overtime, scoring eight points to Los Angeles' five in the extra frame.
But maybe there are other candidates who deserve your vote. Who kept Blake Griffin down? How important were Vince Carter's 14? Darren Collison had 13 points behind Mike James, whose contributions were key. Brandan Wright added 11 points. How about Elton Brand with a game-high four blocks? How about Mayo's regulation finish?
Mavs fans like you vote for "The Dirkie'' here!
DONUT 5: Want more Mavs? ...
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DONUT 6: Booing Lamar Odor ...
Tuesday night marked Lamar Odom's first game in Dallas since his much-maligned stint with the Mavericks last season. He would be booed lustily each time he touched the ball or was shown on the JumboTron. The ex-Mav finished the night with six points and six rebounds.
Yes, Mavs-lovers piled on so that even Brian Cardinal -- like Odom a former Mav but one who cannot stomach the idea of an NBA player stealing money -- went to Twitter to express his views, writing:
Want to hear from Odom himself? Have at it, but this comes with a warning of sorts: I'm not interested in hearing Odom whine about "mistreatment'' or mumble semi-apologies or offer fake-psychoanalysis of the world at large as it relates to his awful stint in Dallas. I heard it for almost a full season. I approached it from every angle. I'm done with it.
Lamar Odom with a B.S. in Philosophy? Not interested.
Odom the basketball player? Fine. We'll talk:
DONUT 7: CP3's Video Visit ...
"That was my fault," Chris Paul said. "I shouldn't have let him go."
Paul admits to having been victimized by Mayo on the final make of regulation ... but let's give CP3 his props on the almost-touchdown pass to Blake Griffin, with Dirk cleverly drawing offensive pass interference:
Chris Paul was an impossible cover last night. Trying the quickness of James/DC didn't quite work. Zoning almost worked, kinda. Trapping almost worked, maybe. Trix on him one-on-one -- what a compliment to Marion that this was even tried -- seemed a 50-50 proposition.
CP3's Video Visit:
DONUT 8: Matt Barnes' "Blueprint'' ...
It is not difficult to lip-read Matt Barnes, who wears his hateful emotions on his sleeve.
At one point, as he was failing to prevent Dirk from scoring 33, Barnes -- infamous for believing that his 2007 Warriors' win over Dallas in the playoffs is the result of some secret Barnes-driven "blueprint'' -- mumbled, "Soft m-----f------.''
Barnes' ignorance must be blissful. And it came into play late in the game, on offense for the Clips, as he missed the ninth of his 13 shots.
It was near the end of overtime. Dallas, focusing on Paul, allowed Barnes an open shot at the top of the three-point arc with a chance to tie.
Barnes gagged the shot. It was as if he'd fouled his shooting hand with his off-hand, the shot was so errant. It was an airball.
"I had a good look," Barnes said. "It felt good."
Yes. Yes, it did.
DONUT 9: Blake Griffin's Video Visit ...
He's a regional favorite and a crowd favorite and we've got Blake Griffin for a Video Visit:
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DONUT 11: Mayo's 'playoff atmosphere' ...
"This is our playoffs right now in terms of keeping our season alive,'' Juice said. "We're fighters. We're going to keep coming until the fat lady sings."
DONUT 12: The Final Word ...
The Mavs have won nine of 12. They are one game below .500. They are a game out of eighth.
"It's a good time,'' Dirk said, "to be playing your best basketball of the season."