Monday, January 18, 2010
Nowitzki heats up cold East Coast swing
By Jeff Caplan
Suddenly, the Dallas Mavericks' five-game road trip looks promising. Heading into Boston the night after a sluggish blowout loss at Toronto didn't have a good feel to it.
But, the Mavs (27-14) redeemed themselves with a stunning third quarter, shooting 80 percent in the period and closing it out with a 10-0 run.
Playing without Kevin Garnett, the Celtics lost for a third straight time on their home floor. While they can blame another brilliant performance by Dirk Nowitzki, 37 points, seven rebounds, three assists, Boston will have to look at how it allowed Erick Dampier to go off for 11 points in the Mavs' 34-point third quarter.
Jason Kidd had a terrific night with 13 points and 17 assists. He nailed all three of his 3-point attempts.
The Mavs remain on this East Coast swing through Sunday. With heady efforts -- Dallas had to overcome yet another shaky start -- they can make it a major success. Remaining on the trip is Washington on Wednesday, Philadelphia on Friday and the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden at noon on Sunday. Those three teams are a combined 33 games under .500 and none have winning records at home.
If there's concern, it has to be the continued cold shooting of sixth man Jason Terry. He finished with eight points Monday on 3-of-12 shooting in 28 minutes. Josh Howard also had a strange night with three points on 1-of-5 shooting, three rebounds and four assists in 31 minutes.