DALLAS (AP) -- The Dallas Mavericks are used to hearing Avery
Johnson yell at them about bad defense, even when Don Nelson is
With Johnson in charge, the Mavs certainly responded after a
sluggish first half Thursday night.
Dallas turned up the defense after halftime, and Jason Terry
scored 11 of his 15 points in the decisive third quarter, to give
the Mavericks a 99-77 comeback win over the suddenly struggling Los
"Our big adjustment was paying attention to offensive rebounds.
Second shots were killing us," Terry said. "Avery got us focused.
... We got in our tempo."
Johnson's forte is defense, a good complement to the
offensive-minded Nelson. But Nelson will miss 10 games or more over
the next two or three weeks after shoulder surgery Thursday.
"A.J. is a little more vocal, but he's calling the same plays
Nellie calls," guard Devin Harris said. "We made a conscious
effort in the fourth quarter to pick it up defensively. We forced
them out of what they wanted to do."
The Clippers, who led by as many as nine points in the first
quarter, had their last lead when Corey Maggette's long jumper with
3 minutes left in the third quarter made it 64-63.
Terry then hit a 3-pointer, and after Elton Brand made two tying
free throws, the Mavericks went ahead to stay on Terry's short
floater in the lane with 1:24 left in the third quarter.
There were 12 lead changes to that point, but the score got
lopsided when the Clippers had an 8-minute stretch in the fourth
quarter without a field goal. Los Angeles' nine points were the
fewest in any quarter by a Dallas opponent this season.
"The defense in the second half is the type of defense I know
this team can play," Johnson said.
"They played good defense and we may have run out of gas
late," said Brand, who had 24 points and 14 rebounds for his fifth
Los Angeles has lost four straight games, and six of eight. The
Clippers (18-21) are three games under .500 for the first time this
"In the second half, we missed some easy shots, made some
mistakes on defense, and we're down 15 in a heartbeat," coach Mike
After Terry's go-ahead basket, Dirk Nowitzki added a 3-pointer
and Jerry Stackhouse a breakaway dunk after his steal to put the
Mavs ahead 73-66. That ended a 14-6 run in which Terry had half the
Bobby Simmons had 16 points and 12 rebounds for the Clippers,
who made just 11 of 38 field goals after halftime and shot 35
percent for the game. Maggette had 14 points.
The Mavericks are 4-1 in games coached by Johnson, who is being
groomed to eventually succeed Nelson. That includes one win in
which Nelson was ejected less than two minutes into the game.
Nelson was recuperating at home Thursday night after the
long-needed surgery to repair an almost completely torn right
"Coach is coming back," Stackhouse said. "He's getting the
tape and watching it. We want him to be proud of how we're playing
when he's out."
Brand scored six points in a 10-0 run late in the first quarter
that gave the Clippers a 25-16 lead. After the Mavs scored the
first eight points of the second quarter, the game was
back-and-fourth until the Terry-led run.
Dallas is 22-0 when leading after the third quarter. ...
The announced crowd was 19,576 and listed as the team's 134th
straight sellout. But there were huge blocks of empty seats
throughout the arena. ... Two nights after scoring an NBA-high 137
points, including 73 in the first half, Dallas trailed 48-42 at