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The Clippers Raze Phoenix And The Streak Goes On; Dirk Nowitzki Is Back For Dallas

On one hand, you have Sunday being defined by a Seahawks team coming out of relative nowhere to crush the 49ers and become the NFL’s hottest team. In the NBA, its best team right now is on just the same kind of roll — 13 straight wins after Sunday — and even though you can say we’ve seen the Los Angeles Clippers coming for a couple of seasons now, it’s still remarkable that they’re the class of the West. It’s not too hard to walk away impressed after they played Phoenix, a team that has serious structural flaws, and beat it 103-77. But this Clippers team has been so long associated with going three steps backward for every step it would go ahead, that this current monotonous drone of CP3-Blake-DeAndre-“hot role player of the night” is unprecedented for its cool efficiency. That role player was Jamal Crawford and his 22 points. And cool in the face of a chippy game Sunday, where Griffin (23 points, 11 boards) was sent flying when he went up for a dunk on one fastbreak. Ronny Turiaf and Jermaine O’Neal were grabbing each other’s jerseys up by the neck and even Jordan and Marcin Gortat — polar opposites in many ways — got hit with technicals, too. No matter. When you have CP3 getting 17 points and dishing 13 dimes, life is good. … The Spurs waxed the Mavericks 129-91 but it’s doubtful you’ll find a Dallas fan not grinning ear to ear today. The early Christmas present arrived, and it came in the form of everyone’s favorite jump-shooting, fading-away 7-footer, Dirk Nowitzki. In his first game of the season he had only eight points, though his back-and-forth baseline rocker J was a textbook Dirk move that he broke out once he got comfortable. It was close for a half, until the full weight of the Spurs’ 20 three-pointers on 30 attempts was too much to bear. The way San Antonio won this game was essentially the exact opposite of how Denver lost its Thursday night game in Portland (hide your eyes: 0-for-22 on threes) … Danny Green ripped off seven of those triples alone for his 25 points and shot 90 percent overall. It was so dominant that Manu Ginobili only made a cameo appearance, playing 21 minutes and having only six points — not that you can equate his game just in points, but still. The same could be said for most the Dallas team, which stood around watching Dirk on offense and didn’t change when he stepped off. O.J. Mayo was minus-31 with seven points. … The Barclays Center is a beautiful building, but it’s too bad the energy gets sucked out of it henever the Nets take a second-half lead. They won against Philadelphia on Sunday, 95-92, but no opponent believes any Brooklyn lead is safe in the second half this season after the Nets have coughed up several and have been struggling to find an identity the last four weeks. Jrue Holiday (24 points, nine assists, six boards) proved why he’s so dynamic for Philly by almost single-handedly turning an eight-point game into a four-point game with less than a minute left, but the Nets stuck it out. Much of that was thanks to Keith Bogans’ eight points (of the Nets’ 12) in a three-minute stretch in the fourth. … We almost spit out our drink when we saw Andray Blatch (10 points) take Spencer Hawes off the dribble for a one-handed slam so casually you’d think he did the sort of thing every day. Joe Johnson had 22 and hit a 28-foot or so triple to cap the third quarter. … Hit the jump to hear about ‘Melo’s huge fourth quarter. …

The Knicks played hero-ball down the stretch of their 94-91 win over Minnesota, handing the rock to Carmelo Anthony and saying, “finish them.” He responded with 19 points in that final frame and had 33 overall. For a six-minute stretch in the fourth, Anthony was the only Knick to even attempt a field goal. Then, after Raymond Felton got in his attempt around the 4:50 mark, it was back to the plan. ‘Melo poured in the final 12 points for the Knicks after that, including seven straight from the free-throw line. It was like watching “Groundhog Day” except that every time it started over again, the plan actually worked. … Greg Stiemsma and J.R. Smith (19 points) had an entertaining game of one-upsmanship, where Stiemsma got a nice block on a Smith layup, only to get filleted by J.R.’s drive before halftime. … Paul Millsap had 18 points and Gordon Hayward had 17 points off the bench for Utah to beat Orlando, 97-93. Keep in mind, no Mo Williams for the Jazz, as he recovers from a strained thumb. … Somehow a Kings squad without DeMarcus Cousins (suspended for his run-in with his coach) ended a hot Portland team’s five-game win streak in Sac-town, 108-96. And by somehow, we mean, “Marcus Thornton,” whose 22 points were a team high. Out of the DNP-CD blue, Travis Outlaw had 15 points off the bench against his first NBA team. Anytime you can get production like his 6-of-7 shooting, you have to approach it like winning a scratch-off lottery ticket or something, a prize you really don’t see coming. The Blazers’ bad bench reared its head again, getting just 26 points for Portland. LaMarcus Aldridge had 22 and 11 and J.J. Hickson got yet another double-double with 14 and 11. Signing him to a one-year deal this summer has turned him into a deal-seeking animal. … We’re out like Vernon Davis.

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