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Mavericks 113, Clippers 107

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LOS ANGELES — Forward Dirk Nowitzki scored 26 points and pulled down 11 rebounds, and the Dallas Mavericks held off the Los Angeles Clippers 113-107 on Thursday night at Staples Center.

The win put the Mavericks a half game ahead of the idle Phoenix Suns and Memphis Grizzlies and alone in the No. 7 spot in the Western Conference playoff race. Dallas (45-31) also snapped a nine-game winning streak at home by the Clippers (54-23).

Guard Jose Calderon scored 19 points and forward Vince Carter came off the bench to add 16 points, hitting four of Dallas’ 14 3-pointers. Center Samuel Dalembert and guard Monta Ellis chipped in 12 points apiece.

Forward Blake Griffin had a triple-double with 25 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds for the Clippers, who saw a four-game winning streak end. Guard Darren Collison scored 22 points, center DeAndre Jordan finished with 21 points and 15 rebounds and point guard Chris Paul had 17 points and nine assists.

Dallas had blown leads in the fourth quarter in each of its three previous losses to Los Angeles, but avoided a meltdown this time.

The Mavericks carried an 86-81 lead into the fourth quarter before the Clippers tied the score at 89 after two free throws by guard J.J. Redick with 8:44 remaining. But Nowitzki sparked a 10-0 run with a pair of 3-pointers for a 99-89 advantage with 6:36 left. The Mavericks pushed the lead to 109-97 before Los Angeles rallied with a 10-0 spurt to slice the margin to 109-107 after a layup by Collison with 1:26 remaining.

The Clippers failed to convert on consecutive possessions as Redick and Collison both missed 3-point attempts. Two free throws by Nowitzki with 17.9 seconds left sealed the win.

Redick returned after missing 21 games with a bulging disc in his back. Redick, who came off the bench, finished with 12 points on 3-of-10 shooting in 24 minutes.

Dallas led 58-56 at the break behind Nowitzki’s 16 points, 11 of those coming in the second quarter. Griffin scored 19 of his points in the first half.

NOTES: Injured Los Angeles G Jamal Crawford (sore left Achilles tendon) and F Danny Granger (strained left hamstring) could miss the rest of the regular season. “I’d be surprised if we saw either one of them until the playoffs maybe,” coach Doc Rivers said. … Clippers PG Chris Paul had at least three steals in eight consecutive games through Wednesday. Paul and Allen Iverson (2007-08) were the only players to record streaks at least that long since the start of the 2003-04 season. … The Mavericks face the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night at Staples Center. They follow that with visits to the Sacramento Kings on Sunday and the Utah Jazz on Tuesday. … The Clippers have four of their five remaining games at home, starting Sunday against the Los Angeles Lakers. They also host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday in a clash that could determine the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference playoffs.

Up to the minute news and reports from the news wire of The Sports Xchange.

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