LOS ANGELES (AP) — Dirk Nowitzki scored a season-high 31 points Wednesday night to lead Dallas to a 118-108 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers in DeAndre Jordan's first visit since backing out on an agreement to sign with the Mavericks in free agency.
A tight second half upstaged the sideshow of the return of Jordan, who was booed throughout before coach Doc Rivers pulled him in the fourth quarter with Dallas successfully using the hack-a-Jordan tactic against one of the NBA's worst free throw shooters.
Zaza Pachulia, the consolation prize at center after Dallas missed out on Jordan, made two free throws to put Dallas ahead for good at 108-106.
As Dallas pulled away in the final minute, the crowd chanted a derogatory phrase at Jordan, who had nine points and 11 rebounds with a minus-23 scoring margin while he was in the game.
Wesley Matthews, the free agent who kept his pledge to Dallas, also had a season high with 25 points.
Nowitzki was 11 of 14 from the field, including a banked-in 3-pointer that looked like it was way off the mark but instead put the Mavericks ahead 113-108 with 1:05 remaining.
Blake Griffin led Los Angeles with 21 points, and Austin Rivers added 16.
Jordan was booed during pregame shooting free throws, and cheered when he missed. Even when he touched the ball briefly on offense, the howls came quickly. And they grew loud whenever he kept it.
That was the hope of owner Mark Cuban, who slipped a couple of times during his usual pregame media session by using Jordan's first name. Otherwise, he stuck with his mantra of not using Jordan's name after the Houston native shunned the billionaire in the hours after changing his mind.
They still haven't spoken, but Cuban is trying to sound as if he's moved on — even though he said he saved the text messages from the saga that played out during the summer.
"It's not like DeAndre and I pinky-swore," said Cuban, who decided against showing several parody videos prepared for Jordan's visit. "It's not like we've been friends forever. It's not like he broke some trust we had."
Chandler Parsons, the chief recruiter of Jordan, once again missed a chance to face him. He had yet to make his debut after offseason right knee surgery when the teams played in Los Angeles the first week of the season.
He sat the second night of a back-to-back after a loss at New Orleans because the Mavericks are easing him back into playing shape.
"I'm upset because this is a very good team that's ahead of us with a better record, and a really good team that's a contender in the West," Parsons said. "I want to play the Clippers, not DeAndre Jordan."
Signs were plentiful, of course, including one with a pair of flip-flops taped to it, offered to Jordan as a Christmas present.
It was all amusing to Clippers coach Doc Rivers, who said he was "just still shocked" and couldn't finish the thought — that it was still an issue.
"He had one, and I'm going to repeat this for the 1,000th time so all the Dallas fans can hear this one more time, he had one chance to get it right," said Rivers, who helped keep Jordan holed up in Houston before the signing. "No matter how long it took, he had the right to get it right."
Clippers: Chris Paul finished with 11 assists to surpass 7,000 for his career, finishing at 7,006. He's the 15th player to reach the milestone, doing it in 706 games for the fourth-fastest behind John Stockton (625), Magic Johnson (637) and Oscar Robertson (667).
Mavericks: Nowitzki passed former teammate Shawn Marion for 15th on the career rebounding list. He finished with a team-high 11 for 10,111 for his career.
Clippers: Visit Phoenix on Thursday night.
Mavericks: Host Lakers on Friday night.
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