How it happened: The Mavericks decided to take the NBA’s worst team seriously at some point during the second quarter.
From that point on, this was as lopsided as a game featuring a defending champion and a historically horrible team should be. Well, at least until garbage time, when the Mavs inexcusably almost coughed up the lead, prompting coach Rick Carlisle to put Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry back on the floor.
In the end, it was one ugly win.
It took the Bobcats building a 14-point lead for the Mavericks to wake up, but Dallas dominated the last two quarters and change. The Mavs seized the lead for good on a pair of back-to-back 3-pointers by Nowitzki during the third quarter, when Dallas outscored Charlotte by a 26-14 margin.
Nowitzki had an All-Star-caliber stat line with 27 points, six rebounds and five assists. For the second consecutive game, Rodrigue Beaubois served as a co-star off the bench, scoring 14 points on 7-of-9 shooting and allowing Jason Kidd to rest the entire fourth quarter again. Sixth man Jason Terry added 18 points.
Charlotte scored 54 points in the first half, but the league’s lowest-scoring team reverted to form after the break. The Bobcats scored only 42 points on 31.7 percent shooting in the second half.
What it means: The Mavs won both games during the get-well portion of their schedule, recovering from the 2-7, 12-day, post-All-Star break debacle with victories over the bottom-feeding Wizards and Bobcats. The competition ratchets up several notches Saturday night against the Spurs, and 15 of the Mavs’ final 21 games are against teams that currently hold a playoff seed.
Bold play of the game: Rick Carlisle wants Rodrigue Beaubois to be more “competitor than entertainer,” but even Carlisle might have enjoyed the kid’s flair on a fast break in the fourth quarter. After racing between two Bobcats to get in the open floor, Beaubois went behind his back after picking up his dribble in the paint, freezing D.J. Augustin before rising for a tomahawk dunk.
Stat of the night: This was only the second time this season the Mavs -- comeback kings during last year’s title run -- rallied from a double-digit deficit to win. The Mavs, who trailed by 14 at one point in the second quarter, are 2-15 in those situations this season.