DALLAS -- The Dallas Mavericks stunned the Los Angeles Clippers, a national TV audience and the sell out crowd of 20,291 at American Airlines Center with a 109-102 overtime victory. Local luminaries in the arena included Dallas Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones, head coach Jason Garrett, New Orleans Saints head coach and Westlake resident Sean Payton and Texas Rangers legend Pudge Rodriguez. The Florida Gators men's basketball team, in town for the South Regional this weekend at Cowboys Stadium, was also in attendance for what turned out to be the most entertaining home game of the Mavs season.
There were plenty of story lines for the game with former Clippers Elton Brand and Chris Kaman now a part of the Mavs and former Dallas swingman Caron Butler and center Ryan Hollins playing for L.A. Dirk Nowitzki passed Patrick Ewing for 17th on the all-time scoring list in the first quarter. Dallas is also on the cusp of hitting the .500 mark and sneaking into the playoffs for what would be the 13th consecutive postseason.
However, the capacity crowd really only cared about one thing: former Mavs swingman Lamar Odom. He was booed unmercifully when he entered the contest and again every time he touched the ball. When he was not on the court, they would show him on the huge video-board and Odom drew more boos. Dallas fans have clearly not forgotten or forgiven how disgraceful Odom's time was with the Mavericks turned out with Lam Lam and the circus atmosphere that involved his reality show with wife Khloe Kardashian. While Khloe and Kim were treated like rock stars at the Mavs-Suns game last January, Odom showed little effort before Mark Cuban finally showed him the door before the season ended.
Since this is the Clippers only visit this season (thereby the only chance to see the league's best point guard Chris Paul and one of the most exciting players in the NBA, Blake Griffin), the beautiful people of Dallas -- and we are not just talking about the Dallas Mavericks Dancers -- were out in full force. With the game starting after 8:45 p.m. due to being televised by TNT, most of the 'see and be seen' fans were on time. The teams' superstars, Paul and Nowitzki, matched one another, each scoring season-high 33 points and by the time 11:15 p.m. rolled around, the crowd was on its feet.
The exciting conclusion of regulation saw O.J. Mayo score for Dallas with 0.6 seconds remaining followed by Griffin catching a long pass in the lane and flipping the ball in the basket in one smooth motion. The 'instant classic' play was nullified for an offensive foul on Griffin for pushing Nowitzki while the pass was in the air. The overtime period was dominated by the Mavs with Nowitzki and point guard Darren Collison draining clutch free throws to put the game away.
The Mavericks are now within one game of the Los Angeles Lakers for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The two teams meet on April 2nd at Staples Center in Los Angeles with the game being shown on TNT. For complete Mavs coverage, visit here.
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