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Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Shawn Marion keeps doing his thing

By Jeff Caplan

Shawn Marion keeps coming up big whenever the Dallas Mavericks need a lift, and Monday night's third quarter at Oklahoma City tops the list.

The Mavs entered the quarter tied at 56-56 and knowing Dirk Nowitzki would not return due to a knee injury he sustained early in the second quarter. Marion, a career starter who has accepted a reserve role this season, started the period at power forward, and he took over the game with an array of running hooks, swooping finger rolls and turnaround jumpers while pounding the glass.

Marion scored 12 of his 20 points from between the 10:44 mark when he gave the Mavs a 62-61 lead, and the 4:27 mark when his lay up put the Mavs up 76-73. Scoring half his team's p0ints in the period allowed Dallas to stay with the Thunder in what could have been a major momentum turner for the home team.

"Shawn Marion had a heck of a third quarter and I think he had a flashback to his All-Star years," acting coach Dwane Casey said. "That quarter was huge."

Marion hit 5-of-8 shots and also brought down eight of his nine rebounds, two on the offensive glass. Afterward, he typically deflected the individual spotlight and shined it on the team.

"Oh man, we wanted to get this win," Marion said. "Everybody stepped up, got aggressive on both ends of the floor and made it happen. We got stops when we needed to and hit shots when we needed. We helped each other. That was the biggest emphasis. Everybody was feeding off each other and helping each other."

Marion notched his second 20-point performance of the season and in doing so snapped a mini-shooting slump in which he was 4-of-14 for 14 points in the previous two games. He tied his season-high of 15 shot attempts, hitting that mark for a third time, and he made season-high 10 field goals for a second time.

He did it all while tying his season-high in minutes with 32, which is what he averaged last season, his first with the Mavs.