DALLAS (AP) — Chris Paul scored 31 points, Blake Griffin added 18 points and 13 rebounds, and the Los Angeles Clippers rallied from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter to beat the Dallas Mavericks 109-103 on Thursday night.
The Clippers have won all three meetings, with second-half rallies in each game. On Thursday, the teams combined for six technical fouls charged to players on the floor, three on each team.
Vince Carter scored 23 points off the bench for the Mavericks, going 4 for 5 on 3-pointers. Dirk Nowitzki had 21 points but only two in the fourth quarter.
Los Angeles maintained its one-game lead over Houston for second place in the Western Conference.
The loss dropped Dallas a half-game behind Phoenix and into ninth place in the tight race for the final playoff berths in the West.
The score was tied at 81 going into the final period before the Mavericks ran off the first 10 points. Los Angeles chipped away and tied it at 101 on a drive by Griffin. Dallas then committed a backcourt violation, and Griffin followed with a spinning runner to give the Clippers the lead for good at 103-101.
The Clippers’ victory Thursday was their least dramatic in the series. They outscored the Mavericks 16-2 down the stretch to win by seven points in the first meeting on Jan. 5. Twelve days later, they rallied from 17 points down to win by two.
The Clippers’ 129-127 victory over the Mavericks on Jan. 15 represented both the most points allowed by Dallas this season and the most points that the Mavericks have scored during regulation this season.
With Los Angeles ahead 36-31 with 10:33 left in the half, the Mavericks went on a 16-2 run to build a 47-38 lead with 7:12 to play in the second quarter. During the Dallas run, the Clippers missed all four of their first-goal attempts and committed three turnovers.
Paul wasted little time shaking off his 0-for-12 performance from the floor on Wednesday night in a one-point loss at New Orleans, hitting his first two attempts. Paul had not gone without a field goal since April 2011, when played for the Hornets.
A shoving match broke out early in the third quarter after the Mavericks brought the ball into the forecourt. Paul pushed Dallas’ Shawn Marion, who knocked into Matt Barnes while falling over the end line. Barnes and Marion then had words, and Barnes shoved Marion. Paul, Marion and Barnes were all assessed technical fouls. That all resulted in one free throw, sank by the Nowitzki, which put Dallas ahead 66-64.
Tempers were still high a few minutes later, when Dallas’ Monta Ellis was charged with an offensive foul and then received a technical.
NOTES: The Clippers’ J.J. Redick, out since early February with a back injury, said he hopes to return before the end of the season. . Nowitzki, a 91.8 percent shooter from the free throw line going into the game, was 6 for 10.