March 31, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro reacts while he watches game action against the Utah Jazz during the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

Los Angeles Clippers – Dallas Mavericks Preview

The Clippers have won 7 straight home games, and just completed a 5 game home stand to solidify their place in the Western Conference Playoffs. They just completed their first 5-game winning streak since November of 2006. This Chris Paul-led Clippers team has had a lot of firsts happen with the superstar guiding the ship.

Chris Paul downplayed the winning streak’s significance: “It ain’t a huge milestone,” said the guard, who had 26 points in the win. “You’ve got to strive for more than that. Every win now is crucial. We got to expect to win. The mindset is changing, and that’s a good thing.”

The Clippers now will see whether they are able to take their show on the road for a bit. They play 9 of their next 14 games on the road.

Vinny Del Negro must certainly be pleased that after this home-stand and Donald Sterling’s vote of confidence earlier in the week, he can avoid questions about his job security for at least the rest of the year.

The Mavericks have not lost to the Clippers at home since April 19th, 2006 and have a lot to fight for since they are only a game and a half ahead of the 8th place Nuggets.

The Mavericks bounced back from their embarrassing loss against the Heat, and won a nailbiter against the Orlando Magic, and Dirk Nowitzki has started playing his Playoff-level basketball after a slow start at the beginning of the season.

Nowitzki scored 28 points against the Magic giving his team only its second win of the year when trailing at the start of the 4th quarter.

“We showed a lot of fortitude, a lot of grit and lot of togetherness,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “We have lofty goals, but we’ve got 13 games to go and we’ve got a lot of improvement left.”

A win for the Mavericks would put them only a game and a half behind the Clippers for playoff seeding, while the Clippers help their quest to win the Pacific Division over the Lakers with a victory. It should be a game with Playoff level intensity; can the Clippers make the best of it?

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Tags: Chris Paul Dirk Nowitzki Rick Carlisle

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