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Big fourth quarter slips Mavericks past Clippers

Dec 3, 2008 - 5:48 AM DALLAS (Ticker) -- Just when it looked like the Dallas Mavericks were ready to pack it in for the night, they gave it one last push.

Jose Juan Barea hit a 3-pointer in the final minute and Dirk Nowitzki scored 29 points to lead the Mavericks to a 100-98 comeback win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday.

Jason Terry added 26 points off the bench for Dallas, which outscored the Clippers, 32-17, in the final quarter to steal the win.

"Tremendous finish," Terry said. "Credit our fans for giving us energy when we had none. Jose Barea's big three was outstanding."

Los Angeles took an 83-68 lead on Steve Novak's 3-pointer on the first possession of the fourth quarter and were still up by a comfortable margin, 96-84, after Al Thornton drove for a layup with 5:01 remaining.

The Clippers would manage just one more field goal the rest of the way, however, allowing the Mavericks to claw their way back in.

"It was unorthodox and all night it was really just a search for energy and a spark at the defensive end," Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. "The group that ended the game did a great job of scrambling. We were in a zone defense, and they were just real active in making things happen.

"For a four-minute stretch, we caught lightening in a bottle and found some magic."

Nowitzki began the comeback with a pair of free throws and Terry added seven points. After Terry's layup pulled Dallas to within 98-97, Los Angeles called a timeout. Rookie Eric Gordon missed a jumper out of the break, giving the Mavericks the window they needed.

Barea took a pass from Jason Kidd and launched a 3-pointer with 50 seconds left to give Dallas its first lead of the game.

"I saw Jason Kidd bring the ball down and just knew he was going to look my way," Barea said. "I got my feet ready and it felt great the moment I let it go."

"I thought, 'Just don't hesitate. Step into it,'" Carlisle said of Barea's shot. "He's one of our better 3-point shooters. He's been in the high 30s low 40s (in 3-point percentage) all year.

"When he has his feet set, he makes it. He was just one of the guys that willed us to victory. He got the ball in the paint repeatedly, got it in the basket, found people and made plays."

Baron Davis, who finished with 22 points and six assists, missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer for the Clippers, who have dropped five of six.

"It was a really disappointing loss for us," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. "We played well throughout the game but, in the fourth quarter, we did a terrible job defensively. On offense, we settled for quick long 3-point shots ... they just weren't good shots and we had some turnovers that allowed them to get out into the open court and score some easy buckets."

"It just all happened so fast," Davis said. "When the fourth quarter started, they just got into a rhythm. We had a nice lead and were comfortable with our lead but, once they went to the zone, we didn't get any good shots. We really didn't get any good looks at the basket from that point on."

Brandon Bass chipped in 14 points off the bench for the Mavericks, who have won seven of eight.

"It was a tough night, but it was a win that can propel us to some great things at home," Terry said.

Zach Randolph scored 27 points and Thornton added 23 for Los Angeles.