- Tim MacMahon, ESPN Staff Writer
- 0 Shares
How it happened: The Mavs pretty much did whatever they wanted offensively against an Eastern Conference also-ran.
Dallas shot 55 percent from the floor and had six players score in double figures.
Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavs with 23 points on 9-of-16 shooting in only 29 minutes, but that’s no big deal for the 12-time All-Star. Nor is it surprising to see Monta Ellis contribute 22 points and seven assists, although his 8-of-12 shooting is particularly impressive.
The most noteworthy performances of the night came from a pair of Mavs role players who signed lower-level contracts this summer.
Guard Devin Harris gave the Mavs a season-high 16 points and four assists in 18 minutes. It’s the kind of impact performance the Mavs were hoping Harris could deliver while he spent the first half of the season recovering from toe surgery.
Kyrie Irving scored 27 points to lead seven Cleveland players in double figures, but the Cavs didn’t get nearly enough defensive stops to keep up with the Mavs.
What it means: The Mavs are alone in eighth place in the Western Conference standings, for a couple of days at least. Dallas (28-21) has a one-game lead on the Memphis Grizzlies, who lost on the road to the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Mavs play seven of their next nine games on the road, beginning with Wednesday’s visit to Memphis. The Cavs dropped to 16-32.
Play of the game: Ellis fought through a screen, stole a pass intended for Irving and took off on a one-man fast break that he finished with a double-pump finger roll in traffic. The bucket stretched the Mavs’ lead to six with 6:36 remaining in the third quarter. The fast break and finish were worthy of the highlight reel, but the grit displayed while fighting through the screen will earn Ellis praise in the Mavs’ film room.
Stat of the night: The Mavs are 14-1 in home games they lead entering the fourth quarter this season.