Jason Kidd celebrated his 37th birthday by scoring a season-high 26 points, much of it coming during a game-breaking spurt at the start of the fourth quarter that sent the Dallas Mavericks to a 106-96 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday night.
The Mavericks came in having lost three of four since winning 13 in a row. They looked good in the first half, scoring 62 points, and were in complete control, until Dirk Nowitzki was ejected with 9:16 left in the third quarter for complaining about a foul call.
Dallas ended up scoring just 14 points in the third quarter, and was down by one going into the fourth.
Then Kidd took over.
He had 13 points, three assists and a steal during a 22-3 run that put the Mavericks ahead for good, on their way to tying Denver for the second-best record in the Western Conference.
The Clippers lost for the 10th time in 11 games, and for the 11 straight time on the road.
Drew Gooden, who started the season with Dallas and was traded to Washington in February, had a season highs of 26 points and 20 rebounds for Los Angeles. Chris Kaman added 22 points and nine rebounds.
Rasual Butler and Eric Gordon each scored 16 points, and Baron Davis 11, but the Clippers got only five points from their bench. They made only 37.9 percent of their shots.
Kidd had 12 assists and six rebounds to go with his rare, big-scoring night. He made a season-high six 3-pointers, including one that hit the front rim, the backboard and caught the rim again on its way down. That came during his big fourth-quarter stretch when it seemed nothing could go wrong for him.
Nowitzki still ended up as Dallas' second-leading scorer with 18 points in 19 minutes. Jason Terry scored 14, Brendan Haywood and Shawn Marion had 12 and Rodrigue Beaubois had 10, highlighted by a dunk off a lob from Kidd on the first play of the fourth quarter.
Nowitzki was tossed for only the third time in his career. It happened quickly, too.
After being called for fouling Gooden, Nowitzki complained to official Bill Kennedy. The ref screamed, "Bam! Right there!" and pointed at Nowitzki for the first technical foul. Nowitzki apparently said something else because he got hit with another technical foul and the automatic ejection.
Dallas was leading 65-56. Soon, Los Angeles was leading 75-71.
Kidd swung things back in the Mavericks' favor with his alley-oop to Beaubois, then a 3-pointer. Haywood had a three-point play, then Kidd set up Caron Butler for a basket and followed with a 3-pointer, then a layup. Dallas was ahead by 11 at that point and the Clippers were never able to make things too tight again.
NOTES: Mavs coach Rick Carlisle on whether his players are waiting for the playoffs to get more focused. "I don't think you can flip a switch. These are men, not machines." ... Clippers highlight? How about Gooden swishing a shot while sitting on the scorer's table during halftime. ... Kennedy had a short fuse all night. He rang up a technical foul against Kaman during the first quarter. ... After allowing a 23-0 spurt in a loss at New Orleans on Monday night, Dallas gave up a 23-6 spurt during the third quarter.