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Jackson Gets Record as Clippers End Road Slump : Pro basketball: He has 712th assist during 107-98 victory over the Mavericks. Williams suffers minor knee injury.

April 21, 1993|SCOTT HOWARD-COOPER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

DALLAS — The accomplishments were both minor and significant for the Clippers on Tuesday night.

They beat the Dallas Mavericks, 107-98, at Reunion Arena, ending an eight-game road losing streak.

"It's late in the year, and we know we'll have to go on the road for the first two games of the playoffs," said Ron Harper, who had 22 points, along with nine rebounds, to lead the Clippers in scoring for the second consecutive game. "We needed to get some road momentum. This was a good start."

Mark Jackson had only four assists, but they were enough to break Norm Nixon's Los Angeles Clipper record for assists in a season, in 1984-85.

"It means a lot for down the road, for talking to my kids and grandkids," said Jackson, who has 712 assists in his first season as a Clipper with two games left. "I take pride in it. It shows you've accomplished something in your career."

The Clippers did not shake the league's losingest team until the fourth quarter, but the victory still dropped the magic number against the Lakers to clinch seventh place in the Western Conference to one.

It wasn't the best of nights for the Clippers to begin with. As expected, Danny Manning sat out because of a sprained right ankle, suffered the day before in practice. That moved Gary Grant into the lineup as Coach Larry Brown went with the three-guard alignment he once relied on heavily, essentially moving Harper to small forward and Ken Norman to power forward, his first start there since 1988-89. Norman responded with 18 points, 10 rebounds and a season-high four blocked shots.

The Clippers suffered another setback when John Williams suffered a hyper-extended left knee during the third quarter. He did not return, but could have played if needed.

The Clippers, back at .500 at 40-40, had a slow start before taking a 58-48 halftime lead. They extended that lead to 70-53.

"The game started out like they (the Clippers) did not want to play," Dallas interim Coach Gar Heard said. "Then we gave them life, and they made it tough on us."

The Mavericks, despite shooting 39%, staged a mini-rally in the fourth quarter to close within 97-87 with four minutes to play, prompting a Clipper timeout. But the Clippers followed that with a 6-2 surge to end any Dallas hopes for its 10th victory of the season.

"I like the way we played," Brown said after the Clippers beat the Mavericks for the seventh time in a row and swept the season series for the first time. "Unfortunately, John was hurt when he was playing well. But we did some good things."

Clipper Notes

The Clippers still have a personnel decision to make by Monday, when playoff rosters must be frozen: Keep Jaren Jackson, who has played the last two games after sitting out more than three months because of a broken ankle, or activate Elmore Spencer, on the injured list because of bronchitis. If they pick Jackson, the Clippers will have only one true center, Stanley Roberts, for the probable first-round matchup against Hakeem Olajuwon and the Houston Rockets.

X-rays confirmed that Danny Manning suffered only a sprain. Swelling is down in the joint and he is walking better.

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