Monday, January 30, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Mavs 122, Suns 99
By Jeff Caplan
How it happened: The Dallas Mavericks turned in a Spurs-like 3-point barrage in the first half and in particular the second quarter when they hit 7-of-8. Dallas made 10 from beyond the arc in the first half -- and a season-high 14 for the game -- to help build an 18-point halftime lead with 66 points, a season-high for any half. The 122 was also a season-best.
Vince Carter's return has been a significant addition considering Dirk Nowitzki's scoring continues to be on the low side. Consider in the first half that Carter's hot hand poured in 15 points, Delonte West had 13 -- and combined they were 6-of-7 from long range. Jason Terry had nine points and Shawn Marion had eight. Nowitzki had four.
The struggling Suns played without their engine, point guard Steve Nash, and they managed to stay close up to about the 5:39 mark of the second quarter, trailing 46-41. Dallas closed out the half on a 20-7 run with a flurry of 3s and a buzzer-beater by West to put it away.
Here's the most fascinating stat of tonight's offensive onslaught that involved Nowitzki as a rare outsider: the Mavs had three 20-point scorers for the first time this season. West put up a season-high 25 on 5-of-6 shooting from downtown, Carter matched Sunday's season high with 21 points and 5-of-7 shooting from deep, and Shawn Marion also had 20, all coming from inside the arc.
Nowitzki? He finished with 10 points, matching his output in Sunday's return. He was 4-of-10 and 0-of-3 from beyond the arc.
But, what a positive sign for the Mavs' formerly sluggish offense to find the kind of scoring to blow up the scoreboard with Nowitzki still seeking that elusive rhythm.
And what about Rodrigue Beaubois in his second start replacing Jason Kidd at point guard? He had a nice night with eight points and dished out seven assists for the third consecutive game. Kidd was averaging 4.1 points and 5.1 assists in 16 games. Again, Beaubois took care of the basketball. He had just one turnover in 24 minutes. His final points came in the final minute on a sweet alley-oop jam courtesy of Dominique Jones.
The Mavs finished the game shooting a sizzling 55.2 percent overall and 51.9 from beyond the arc.
What it means: The Mavs (14-8) closed the month of January with a 13-5 record. The 18 games marked a franchise record for most games in one month. Since being 3-5 on Jan. 5, Dallas has won 11 of 14 games. Dallas will start February with an intriguing home date Wednesday against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Play of the game: West's buzzer-beater off a baseline inbounds pass was nice to end the first half, but you know it had to be Carter with the night he had, and this one was pure insanity. With 4:44 to go in the game and Dallas comfortably ahead 110-88, Carter, working on the left side just outside the lane, backed down Michael Redd, made a move into the middle of the lane, got bumped by Redd and then put up a running behind-the-back shot with the right hand from about eight feet out that floated up and came down straight through the hoop. Unfortunately for Carter, it would only count for smiles as the refs called the foul on the floor.
Stat of the day: The Mavs improved to 6-2 on the season on the second night of back-to-backs. A ninth set comes up Friday and Saturday starting at home against the improved Indiana Pacers and finishing Saturday at the Cleveland Cavaliers.