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Playing in their first game against the Los Angeles Clippers since DeAndre Jordan reneged on his agreement with Mark Cuban, the Dallas Mavericks 104-88 fell in  a primetime matchup with the Los Angeles Clippers. It was the second night of a back-to-back for the Mavs, after they defeated in the Phoenix Suns in a blowout win in their opening night matchup on the road.

The depleted, injury-plagued Mavs came into tonight’s game shorthanded once again, playing without the services of Deron Williams (left knee contusion), JaVale McGee (left tibial stress fracture), Wes Matthews (Achilles/rest) and Chandler Parsons (right knee surgery). Williams suffered a left knee contusion when he bumped knees with guard Suns Eric Bledsoe against the Suns last night and Matthews sat out as a precaution, as he still recovers from his Achilles injury.

So, let’s be real here, the first half was an atrocious display of basketball. Both the Clippers and Mavs struggled to score, shooting just 42 and 37 percent, respectively, from the floor. After Mavs center Zaza Pachulia fell into early foul trouble, the Mavs were forced to shift to a small-ball lineup with Dwight Powell at center, who filled in nicely with a near triple-double (9 points, 8 rebounds). Even after a 15-3 run by the Clippers in the first quarter, the Mavs only found themselves down by only 5 points despite shooting a meager 26 percent from the field.

Then, in the second quarter, things got chippy. In what TNT analyst, Chris Webber called a swipe move by DeAndre Jordan, an elbow caught the head of Dirk Nowitzki. On the next play down, Nowitzki retaliated with a hard defensive foul and a scuffle ensued; and in true classless fashion, DeAndre celebrated his childish antics. Technical fouls were assessed on DeAndre Jordan, Blake Griffin and Raymond Felton. The Mavs then employed a Hack-of-DeAndre strategy that kept them close with DeAndre struggling at the line, and headed to the locker room trailing by just 8 points at halftime.

In the second half, the Clippers started to finally find their groove. The Mavs struggled to contain Blake Griffin, who completely unloaded his offensive arsenal in the third quarter with 13 points; eventually finishing the game with 26 points and 10 rebounds. The Clippers finished the quarter shooting 60 percent from the field and had a 17-point lead heading into the fourth quarter that eventually sealed the game.

In the end, the Mavs showed a lot of fight. For the much of the first half, they out-rebounded and out-played the Clippers, but just couldn’t get shots to fall and those shots eventually led to 18 fast breakpoints. Despite a vintage performance from Dirk Nowitzki (16 points in 25 minutes) the Mavs just didn’t have the firepower to overcome the absence of Parsons, Matthews and Williams. While the game will leave a bitter taste in the mouths of Mavs fans, Mark Cuban’s quote before the game said it best.

“You can change the owner, you can change the players,”Mark Cuban told reporters , “but the Clippers are who they’ve been for the past 30 years.”

Up Next: 

The Dallas Mavericks will spend the next couple days in Los Angeles before facing the Lakers at Staples Center on Sunday at 8:30 pm CT (TV: Fox Sports Southwest)

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