- Tim MacMahon, ESPN Staff Writer
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How it happened: Rodrigue Beaubois got rolling.
Yes, Roddy B., the former phenom who has spent most of this season riding the bench.
Beaubois, who made a significant impact for the second time in three games, was the primary force when the Mavericks took over the game early in the fourth quarter. He had seven points and an assist during the 15-2 run that gave the Mavs the lead for good.
Beaubois finished with 18 points, one shy of his season high, and five assists. The fourth-year guard was 6-of-10 from the floor, including 3-of-5 from 3-point range.
Beaubois wasn’t the only bench player who had a big game. Center/forward Brandan Wright, who has carved out a regular role recently, scored 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting and grabbed five rebounds. Point guard Darren Collison contributed 13 points and three assists.
Dirk Nowitzki (13 points, 11 rebounds) had a double-double for the third straight game, but he was only 6-of-16 from the floor.
What it means: The Mavs beat a bad Cleveland team -- which was missing All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving -- to avoid falling further behind in the fight for one of the West’s last playoff spots. The seventh-place Houston Rockets and eighth-place Los Angeles Lakers both won on Friday night, so the Mavs remained three games out of the playoff picture. Dallas (31-34) won for the fifth time in six games.
Play of the game: Collison pushed the ball down the floor in transition, drew the defender in the lane and dished to Wright. Wright’s two-hand slam stretched the Mavs’ lead to five points with 9:48 remaining.
Stat of the night: It had been more than a season since Beaubois led the Mavs in scoring. The last time he was Dallas’ outright leading scorer was March 12, 2012, when he had 25 points in a loss to the New Orleans Hornets.