DALLAS • The Los Angeles Clippers had been tipped to secure their fifth straight National Basketball Association (NBA) win at Dallas after the Mavericks' leading scorer and Rookie of the Year front runner Luka Doncic was ruled out through injury.
But what they were not counting on was an implosion by one of their own in Patrick Beverley, whose antics cost the Clippers dear and fired up Dallas to their seventh straight victory with a 114-110 triumph.
DeAndre Jordan torched his former team for 16 points and a season-high 23 rebounds while Harrison Barnes led all scorers with 30 points. The Clippers were paced by 23 points from Montrezl Harrell.
In 2013, Beverley's foul on Russell Westbrook led to a torn meniscus and may have cost the Thunder a shot at the NBA Finals, earning him a lifetime of boos in Oklahoma City.
On Sunday, the guard can add Dallas to the list of where he is not welcome, after his accidental elbow knocked out Dennis Smith Jr's front tooth in the third quarter. He was then ejected for throwing a ball at a fan in the fourth.
Beverley tried to defend his actions, insisting he was reacting only to verbal abuse about his mother.
He told ESPN: "After I told the refs, I told security, he said it again. So if no one is going to control fans, what are we supposed to do? I'm not praising me getting kicked out. But I will stand for my morals and family is important to me."
But Smith was unfazed and even came up with a game-saving block on Tobias Harris before making two free throws at the other end to seal the win. However, the Mavericks guard, who had nine points, did manage to find a quick fix for the missing tooth when he appeared in front of the cameras for his post-game interview. He joked: "When there's ladies looking, I gotta be looking nice."
His coach Rick Carlisle also praised his intensity in the clutch, calling his vital block "one of the best competitive things I've seen in a long time".
It remains to be seen if the league will come down hard on Beverley, who in April last year was fined US$25,000 (S$34,160) for an altercation with a Thunder fan while playing for the Houston Rockets.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS