The attention on Thursday night was mainly on Oklahoma City Thunder ending San Antonio Spurs' unbeaten run of 19 games, but in Los Angeles a German power forward grabbed the headlines.
Dirk Nowitzki scored 26 points against the L.A Clippers helping the Dallas Mavericks to go on and beat the supposed favourites at the Staples Centre 113-107.
In the first quarter it was Blake Griffin who got the home fans on the front foot, recording ten points and scoring five field goals from nine attempts, while Nowitzki only managed five points. First blood to Griffin, but the first quarter was Dallas'.
In the second the 35-year-old responded hitting 11 points, but this wasn't enough as the home side gave a tremendous effort sharing 20 points between both Griffin and Darren Collison winning 30-26.
At half time Dallas had a two point lead at 58-56.
The third quarter was quiet for both stars; Nowitzki didn't gain a single point while playing for the seven minutes, and the Clippers forward, Griffin, only managed two. But Monta Ellis and Jose Calderon helped Dallas move into a five-point advantage going into the final quarter.
In the final 12 minutes, the German showed up tallying up ten points with Vince Carter adding seven to go on and win quarter 27-26, while the Oklahoma born forward suffered a late injury in the dying embers to gift Mavericks the win.
The 25-year-old managed his first triple-double of the season, but couldn't do anything to prevent a defeat, as Rick Carlisle's team were in dominant fashion. Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan scored 38 points in the game between them but the German's giant stature paid dividends.
"We needed every single point of it. The way we give away leads is sometimes mindboggling," he said.
Previous to this encounter, Mavericks had lost three games on the bounce and are now sitting on the edges of the play-off places with Phoenix, Minnesota, and Memphis all capable of finishing above them.
Rick Carlisle's team aren't safe yet either, as it may be an improvement from finishing tenth last year and missing out on the play-off places, but they still have to face the L.A Lakers, San Antonio Spurs and Phoenix Suns in the coming weeks, with a final day game against Memphis Grizzlies.
Clippers, meanwhile, are in a comfortable third having already clinched the Pacific Divsion title and with Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin all hitting top form, Doc Rivers will want to make sure they do better than their previous season; losing in the first round of the play-offs to the Grizzlies.
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