Dallas Mavericks

Brendan Haywood Finds a Way to Stop Blake Griffin; Mavs Win

Blake Griffin had one highlight - his NBA-leading 100th dunk of the season off an alley-oop in the first quarter.

But for the most part Tuesday night at American Airlines Center, it was same ol' Clippers. And same ol' Mavericks. Which meant, of course, Dallas 112, Los Angeles 105.

The Clippers led by 15 early, but the Mavs -- as they can still do in the wake of Caron Butler and before an appearance by Peja Stojakovic -- got hot in the second half. Jason Terry scores a season-high 28, Tyson Chandler a season-high 21 and J.J. Barea took over parts of the game on his way to 25 and the Mavs on their way to a season-high. And it didn't hurt that coach Rick Carlisle got into an animated shouting match with the Clippers' Baron Davis.

But the game got interesting just as the high-flying Griffin -- a combo of Shawn Kemp/Karl Malone that I can't wait to see in the All-Star Slam Dunk contest -- blew past Haywood on the baseline and ...

Never really elevated because the Mavs' backup center jerked him down by his left arm. Wasn't really a dirty play, more a smart one.

Though the crowd came to watch Griffin slam, and the Clippers usually feed off those plays' energy, Haywood's move -- which drew a technical foul and left Griffin wincing in pain in his left arm -- is the kind of "not in my house" defensive mindset the Mavs have lacked for years.

Said Haywood, "On those type of plays he has to realize, 'All right, I got fouled, just throw it at the rim and come down. Protect yourself for the next play. Every play can't be a dunk-contest dunk."

Bravo.

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Richie Whitt
Contact: Richie Whitt