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01/10/2013 2:27 AM EST
Clippers beat Mavs 99-93 for 13th home win in row
LA CLIPPERS 99, DALLAS 93

By BETH HARRIS
AP Sports Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The Los Angeles Clippers looked like the team
with the NBA's best record in stretches. They were flat and
sloppy at other times, and still pulled out the win.



Chris Paul had 19 points and 16 assists in beating the Dallas
Mavericks 99-93 on Wednesday night, extending the Clippers'
franchise-record home winning streak to 13 games.



"We'll take the win, but we know we can play better," he said.
"We came out a little flat, but it's not going to be merry every
night. It's a good win for us to grit it out and fight it out
against a tough team."



Matt Barnes added 19 points off the bench, and Blake Griffin had
15 points and 13 rebounds for the Clippers (29-8), who took sole
possession of the league's best record from Oklahoma City with
their third straight win overall.



"We're not going to win pretty all the time," Barnes said.



Vinny Del Negro earned his 100th victory in his 184th game as
Clippers coach, making him the fastest to reach the century mark
in franchise history. But he was in no mood to note the
occasion, clearly irked by his team's defensive breakdowns and
its 21 turnovers.



"It wasn't a very productive game," Del Negro said. "We weren't
as consistent as we need to be. We had so many turnovers it was
hard to get a rhythm offensively. When we're struggling
offensively, we got to lock down defensively."



Darren Collison scored 22 points for Dallas. O.J. Mayo added 17
and Dirk Nowitzki had 15. At 13-23, the Mavs fell 10 games below
.500 for the first time since March 30, 2000, two months after
Mark Cuban bought the team. They've lost four in a row overall
and three straight on the road, where they are 5-16.



"This is painful right now, to be losing like this when we were
so close," Shawn Marion said. "It seems like when we get right
there, we're going to do something to mess it up. We played a
solid game, but it just seemed like the little things kept
adding up and it killed us."



The Clippers led the entire first half, fell behind by 10 points
in third quarter and then regained the lead for the first time
in the fourth on Paul's steal and layup that made it 82-80.



They took the lead for good on Barnes' 3-pointer that keyed an
8-0 run. Los Angeles forced former Clipper Chris Kaman into two
misses while Collison airballed another shot in that stretch as
the Clippers went ahead 90-83.



Nowitzki's jumper pulled Dallas to 95-93. Griffin hit a
turnaround jumper to give the Clippers a four-point lead before
Collison missed a 3-pointer in the right corner.



"My performance was pretty poor. I need to do a much better job
of taking care of the ball," Griffin said. "But I love the way
our second unit came in during the end of the third and got us
back."



Barnes grabbed a defensive rebound and Caron Butler came up with
two big offensive boards off consecutive misses by Griffin and
Paul with 39 seconds left. After taking two timeouts, Paul
missed an 18-footer with 24 seconds left and Dallas called
timeout. Collison scrambled looking for a shot before he passed
to Vince Carter, who missed.



"Those offensive rebounds at the end just killed us," Marion
said.



Paul got fouled and made both shots for a 99-93 lead while fans
chanted "MVP!"



"In the fourth quarter, we needed to stay with the
aggressiveness," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. "But they turned
it up and we just didn't get it done. We've got to keep working.
We've got to do a few things better, get some more rebounds and
knock down some more shots."



Los Angeles played flatly in the third, when the Mavs used a
22-8 run to take a 75-65 lead. Marion's 3-pointer early in the
spurt gave Dallas its first lead of the game and snapped the
Clippers' streak of leading for 10 straight quarters. The
Clippers rallied at the end of the period, scoring seven in a
row, punctuated by Barnes' 3-pointer that beat the buzzer to
trail 75-72.



"It's disheartening losing these games," former Clipper Elton
Brand said. "I haven't been through a stretch like this in a
long, long time. We've been competing in most of these games,
and we just have to find a way to close them out and win them."



The Clippers led the entire first half, sparked by Barnes' 11
points, including three 3-pointers. The Mavs scored seven
straight points to tie the game at 50-all on Collison's hook
before Paul got around Mayo to hit a running jumper at the
buzzer, keeping the Clippers ahead 52-50 at the break.



NOTES: Jack Ramsay previously held the franchise record for
fastest coach to 100 wins, doing so in 223 games with the
Buffalo Braves. Former Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy reached the
mark in 224 games. ... Clippers G Jamal Crawford returned after
missing the last two games because of a sore left foot. "The
foot is OK, the legs were a little heavy," he said. ... Clippers
F Grant Hill did not make his expected return after missing all
season with a right knee bone bruise. Coach Vinny Del Negro said
Hill has not had any setbacks and would practice a couple more
days before being evaluated for Saturday's game against Orlando.
... The Mavs signed free-agent guard Mike James to a 10-day
contract on Wednesday. The 10-year NBA veteran had played two
games with the Texas Legends of the NBA D-League.

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