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Butler returns to Dallas, but Mavs snag win

Feb 14, 2012 - 5:15 AM Dallas, TX (Sports Network) - Caron Butler was welcomed by a standing ovation when he accepted his NBA championship ring Monday night, but the Clippers forward received a bigger hand from the American Airlines Center crowd when he missed a potential go-ahead three-pointer in the final seconds.

The errant try allowed the Mavericks to secure a 96-92 win behind five double- digit scorers and stifling defense in the fourth quarter.

Dirk Nowitzki led the way with 22 points, while Shawn Marion added 16 points in Dallas' fourth straight win.

"We held it together and kept our poise. ...It was defense that got us over the hump," Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle said. "I'm real proud of our guys because this was a very tough game."

Butler finished with 23 points and eight rebounds, and Blake Griffin added 20 points and seven boards for Los Angeles, which finished up a 4-2 road trip.

The Clippers committed nine turnovers in the final frame and went scoreless for nearly five minutes. They were on top 83-79 following a pair of Chris Paul free throws with 7:03 remaining before the cold stretch began.

Griffin missed seven consecutive free throws before finally hitting one with 2:15 remaining to end Dallas' 7-0 run.

Jason Kidd found Jason Terry underneath for an easy layup at the other end to extend Dallas' lead to 88-84, and Nowitzki added two free throws following a Griffin turnover.

Griffin ended LA's seven-minute field goal drought with a dunk while being fouled and made the free throw to cut the deficit to three.

Kenyon Martin made it 90-89 on a driving bucket with one minute remaining, but Nowitzki answered with a rainbow jumper and two free throws.

Paul followed with a three-pointer with 17.8 seconds showing, then stole Kidd's inbounds pass before setting up Butler on the right side.

Butler was 5-of-9 from long distance before hitting all iron as time wound down. Delonte West corralled the rebound and sank two free throws to clinch the victory.

"I got my feet up under me, followed through, it was a routine shot, just fell a little short. It would have been a great ending to the game," Butler said of his attempt.

Brendan Haywood scored all 10 of his points in the first quarter, carrying the Mavs to a 27-19 lead they did not relinquish until the third frame.

An evenly-played second ended with Dallas holding a 55-47 advantage, and the Clippers reeled off a 12-2 run midway through the third to take a 67-64 lead. LA led 76-74 entering the fourth.

Game Notes

Butler did not play for Dallas in the playoffs last season after suffering a knee injury in January...Paul logged 16 points and nine assists...Vince Carter and West each netted 10 points for the Mavs, who scored 22 points off 21 turnovers...LA won the battle on the glass, 50-36...The Clippers snapped a 10- game losing streak to Dallas last month. These teams meet again in Dallas on April 2. The Clippers have lost 10 straight in Dallas, last tasting victory there on April 19, 2006.