Dallas Mavericks: Dirk Nowtizki
Let's take a quick look at the lopsided 112-97 loss the Dallas Mavericks suffered Monday at the hands of the Sacramento Kings.
How it happened: A short-handed team is always a dangerous team. The Mavericks discovered this fact the hard way as they fell behind by double digits within the first six minutes of the game. Leading the league with 17.8 points off the bench, Isaiah Thomas made his first start of the year for Sacramento. He gave Dallas fits early with his speed as he scored 10 points in the opening quarter. Thomas opened things up for this teammates as the Kings went on a 21-4 run en route to taking a 34-23 lead into the second quarter.
Dallas responded to Sacramento’s run with an 18-4 spurt of its own to start the second quarter. In another "be ready" game, Bernard James responded with tough defense, rebounds and baskets. His energy triggered the comeback effort by the Mavericks in the second quarter. Off a 3-point bucket by Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas took a quick 41-38 lead. The game of runs continued as the Kings, led by DeMarcus Cousins, countered with an 14-2 run of their own to extend their lead back to 10. Cousins ended up recording a double-double in the first half with 19 points and 10 rebounds as the Kings took a 57-47 lead into halftime. They ended up never looking back.
A general malaise seemed to grip the Mavericks as they didn’t put up much of a fight to start the second half. Dallas wasn’t fighting through screens and the Mavs were settling for jumpers rather than trying to get into the lane. They tried to slow down the Kings with a zone defense, but the adjustment didn’t have much of an impact. Derrick Williams was the next Kings player who got going, scoring 13 points in the third quarter on 5-of-6 shooting from the floor. He finished the game with a career-high 31 points.
The Kings' third-quarter surge -- when they lengthened a five-point edge to 19 by period's end -- essentially took the Mavericks out of the game. Dallas suffered an embarrassing loss to a team that only had five wins coming into the game. Sacramento had three players with at least 20 points. Monta Ellis was the only player for Dallas to score at least 20 points.
What it means: The good mojo the Mavericks had coming off their win against the Trail Blazers quickly evaporates with a bad loss to the Kings. Dallas will look to go 3-1 on its road trip Wednesday against Golden State.
Play of the game: The stat sheet doesn’t show a blocked shot, but with just under a minute to go in the first half, Thomas elevated and altered James’ dunk attempt. It wasn’t credited as a block for Thomas, so James gets the ever-so-rare air-balled dunk.
Stat of the night: Dallas had a 43-40 lead at the 6:31 mark of the second quarter. The Mavs were outscored 52-30 from that point on to the end of the third quarter.
Let's take a look at the Dallas Mavericks' 102-100 loss to the Denver Nuggets:
How it happened: Mavs coach Rick Carlisle wasn’t happy with the lack of calls for Monta Ellis’ aggressiveness, and Carlisle was ejected with 5:14 left in the second. He probably also wasn’t happy as his team was lethargic in the opening portion of the game.
Dallas started the game early with a zone defense, and the results weren’t optimal as Denver carved up the Mavericks' tired legs. Outside of Dirk Nowitzki and Ellis, Dallas really didn’t have anything going in terms of consistency on offense early. Vince Carter’s recent shooting drought continued in Denver. Entering the game against the Nuggets, Carter was shooting 11-of-33 from the field. He started the game against Denver shooting 1-of-7 from the field. The Mavs allowed the Nuggets to score 65 points in the first half.
Dallas got into the bonus with 6:30 left in the third quarter, allowing the team to keep within striking distance. Going without a headband in the second half, Carter drilled three much-needed shots for the Mavs. They ended up going through a bad drought after Carter’s outburst, missing their next eight shots. Another big shot from Carter signaled an 11-point quarter, bringing the Mavs to within six going into the fourth quarter.
With the shot-clock running down, Ellis knocked down a huge jumper to give the Mavs a quick 89-88 lead with just more than 7 minutes to go in the game. The teams went on the seesaw, as neither could seize control of the game.
Randy Foye hit a 3-pointer from the wing to give Denver a 101-100 lead with just under a minute to go, and the Nuggets were able to secure the win. Despite the loss, Nowitzki answered the challenge and delivered nine big points in the fourth quarter for Dallas. The Mavs will look to settle the score as they face the Nuggets again in Dallas on Monday night.
What it means: Dallas ultimately paid the price for nearly blowing a 28-point lead to the Utah Jazz the previous night. The nature of a back-to-back and having to play in altitude had this pegged to be a “scheduled loss.” Outside of the big three of Nowitzki, Ellis and Carter, the rest of the Mavs were relative no-shows.
Play of the game: Just before the half, as Dallas got the deficit down to single digits, Denver guard Evan Fournier missed a running jump shot with just a minute left to go. There wasn’t a Mav who wanted to box out, and Kenneth Faried went right down the rim for a monster putback slam. Faried had more offensive rebounds than the entire Dallas squad (4-2) in the first half.
Stat of the night: Denver moved to 49-8 over the past four seasons against teams who came into town on the second night of a back-to-back. Only San Antonio has a better record in the same scenario at 50-6.
Fast-forward to Saturday, and point guard Mike Conley, the most dynamic option the Memphis Grizzlies have in terms of facilitating for others from the perimeter, had Marion defending him. While keeping Conley relatively in check over the course of the game, Marion would also find himself guarding power forward Zach Randolph. Carlisle appreciated the true versatility that Marion brought to the table and was able to put it in historical context.
"You're talking about a really special player, and he really personalized this game. He felt lousy about [Friday's loss]. He knew we needed a spark. From start to finish, he was on."
Marion was on in the form of producing his first double-double of the season, with 21 points and game-high-tying 14 rebounds in 34 minutes.
"I was just trying to help the team the best way I could," Marion said. "With me starting on Conley, I was trying to set the tone on defense and set the pace for the game."
The pace was set for the game as he helped the Mavs take a significant lead on the Grizzlies in the opening quarter. As the game continued at a grind, Marion led the charge on the defensive end. If you're a team that's only going to shoot 40 percent from the field, defense is certainly necessary if you want to win a game. Marion was able to hold up his end of the bargain and the Mavs were able to secure a victory. To top it off, he was the team's second-leading scorer.
"Shawn is one of the best all-around players this league has," Mavs forward Dirk Nowitzki said. "We all know that. As coach said, there's not a lot of players that can guard the point guard and a big 4 guy. He's a very versatile guy. He's a great slasher on offense. Without him, there's no way we win the championship a couple of years ago."
Blair continues to deliver in the paint: In another matchup where he was severely undersized, DeJuan Blair delivered. With his eight points and six rebounds off the bench, Blair is averaging 9.3 points and 7.0 rebounds in 20.3 minutes in the team's first three games. Going into the season, it remained a question where the team would receive a dose of attitude and edginess. It appears that Blair is going to be the player who provides that.
"He's a tough-nosed guy," Mavs forward Dirk Nowitzki said of his new teammate. "He goes in [the paint] where it hurts. He's got a big body and pushed people around. That's exactly what we need. We needed a physical presence. He's been great at battling on the inside. He obviously gives up some size every night, but he makes up for it by fighting."
Coming through when it counts: Both Dallas victories have seen the Mavs hold on to a lead in the final five minutes of the game, something that wasn't common last season. With last season's bunch, there were catastrophic turnovers and an inability to get timely stops. This season, the Mavs are 2-for-2 in holding on to secure victories.
"We're a smarter team," said Vince Carter, who again led the Mavs in bench scoring with 11 points. "Guys have been around and understand how to play the game of basketball. We have a lot of scoring power, a lot of guys who are just willing to do whatever is ask. That's the biggest key and the most important thing to our team right now. We have so many guys to do whatever and we have so many guys are ready to go right now. It's a great feeling."
Clarity on competition: It may only be three games, but Nowitzki is clear on what the Mavs are capable of in terms of battling against the playoff contenders in the Western Conference.
"I think we can compete," Nowitzki said. "If we play hard and fight for each other defensively, we can play with anybody. If we don't, we can get embarrassed like we did in Houston in the first half. We're not good enough to coast. We've got to compete at all times."
The Dallas Mavericks completed their season sweep with another spectacular offensive outing against the Sacramento Kings.
Shawn Marion (25 points, 12 rebounds) led five Mavs who scored in double figures against the Kings, who allowed four of Dallas’ top five scoring totals this season. Brandan Wright added 20 points on 9-of-14 shooting off the bench.
The Mavs shot 51.1 percent from the floor and had 30 assists with only nine turnovers. Dallas seized the lead for good while putting up 41 points in the second quarter, the Mavs’ second highest-scoring quarter of the season.
The Kings, who got big nights from guards Tyreke Evans (26 points, nine rebounds, six assists) and Isaiah Thomas (29 points), trimmed Dallas’ lead to four with a run early in the fourth quarter. The Mavs responded with a 9-0 run in which guards Darren Collison (18 points, eight assists) and O.J. Mayo (13 points, six assists) accounted for every point.
Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins, a talented but troubled young center whom the Mavs have interest in acquiring, played only nine minutes due to a recent dispute with Kings coach Keith Smart.
What it means: The Mavs made sure this wouldn’t be a winless road trip, snapping a two-game losing streak. Dallas improved to 37-39, keeping them three games behind the Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Lakers, pending the outcome of L.A.’s late game against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Play of the game: Collison penetrated, drew three defenders and kicked the ball out to Dirk Nowitzki near the top of the 3-point arc with the clocking ticking down at the end of the first half. Nowitzki drilled the buzzer-beating 3 to stretch the Mavs’ lead to six at the break.
Stat of the game: His second assist of the game gave Vince Carter 4,000 for his career. That made him the 15th player in NBA history with at least 22,000 points, 5,000 rebounds and 4,000 assists. The other members of that exclusive club: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Wilt Chamberlain, Oscar Robertson, John Havlicek, Alex English, Kevin Garnett, Jerry West, Paul Pierce, Charles Barkley, Ray Allen and Clyde Drexler.
How it happened: Dirk Nowitzki dominated winning time, willing the Dallas Mavericks to a miraculous comeback win.
Nowitzki matched his season high with 35 points on 14-of-17 shooting, including 15 in the fourth quarter and eight in the final minute. He finished his clutch scoring flurry with the game-winning 3-pointer with less than three seconds remaining.
The Mavs stormed back from a 12-point deficit in the final minutes, finishing the game with a 15-1 run over the last 3:32.
Nowitzki’s corner 3 with 53.5 seconds remaining made it a two-point game. After Chicago’s Carlos Boozer split a pair of free throws, Nowitzki hit a one-legged fadeaway on the baseline to trim the deficit to one. He hit the game-winner the next possession.
Nate Robinson was one of three Bulls to score 25 points, joining power forward Carlos Boozer and small forward Luol Deng, but the reserve point guard’s ridiculous scoring flurry early in the fourth quarter appeared to be the turning point of the game.
Robinson took over right after the Mavs closed the third quarter with a 12-1 run to tie the game. He opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer from the right wing, starting a personal 11-2 run in the first 3:27 of the quarter to give the Bulls the lead for good.
Robinson finished his hot streak with one more 3, a ridiculous 32-footer with the shot clock ticking down midway through the quarter. He finished with 14 of his 25 points in the fourth. He was 9-of-16 from the floor and 7-of-7 from 3-point range in the game, 5-of-8 and 4-of-4 in the fourth.
But Dirk wasn’t done.
Robinson had a chance to send it into overtime after Nowitzki's heroics, but his jumper at the buzzer clanked off the iron.
What it means: The Mavs (36-37) pulled within a game of the Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Lakers in the fight for the West’s final playoff berth, pending the results of Saturday night’s games. Dallas won four of six games during the homestand, capping it with a thrilling victory over the 39-32 Bulls, the East’s fifth-place team.
Play of the game: How could it not be Nowitzki’s game-winner with 2.9 seconds remaining? He drilled in in Luol Deng’s face after Vince Carter found Nowitzki on the left wing.
Stat of the day: Nowitzki has a season-high 35 points in two of the Mavs’ past three games, lighting it up in heart-pounding wins over the Clippers and Bulls.
The Mavs’ defensive deficiencies, which had been masked recently by Dallas’ remarkable efficiency on the other end, got exposed in the third quarter, when the Pacers turned a halftime tie into a lopsided lead by lighting it up for 34 points in that frame. Indiana shot 70 percent in the quarter, hitting 14 of 20 shots from the floor.
|Galloway & Company discuss the latest with the Mavericks, including them closing in on .500 and getting to shave their beards. |
The Mavs trimmed the lead to 10 points early in the fourth quarter, but they never made a serious run.
Dirk Nowitzki scored 21 points on 10-of-20 shooting, but this was otherwise a dreadful offensive night for Dallas against the NBA’s stingiest scoring defense. It was the first time the Mavs failed to score at least 80 points since a Dec. 14 loss to the Toronto Raptors.
The Mavs were physically overmatched against the bigger, stronger Pacers all night. Indiana had a 55-34 rebounding advantage and a 50-34 edge in points in the paint.
What it means: The Mavs aren’t shaving on this homestand. More importantly, they didn’t make up any ground on the Los Angeles Lakers, who lost in Milwaukee. Dallas (35-37) is a game and a half behind the eighth-place Lakers and a game behind the Utah Jazz, who were idle Thursday.
Play of the game: A miserable third quarter for the Mavs ended with ex-Dallas big man Ian Mahinmi throwing down a two-hand dunk. Pacers backup guard Orlando Johnson found a cutting Mahinmi wide open in the paint for the way-too-easy bucket.
Stat of the night: The Pacers are an NBA-best 14-7 on the second night of back-to-backs. The Mavs fell to 12-3 at home against teams that played the previous night.
How it happened: The Dallas Mavericks played drastically better defense than in their previous two games and got the ball in the hands of their hot frontcourt duo.
After allowing 113 points in each of the past two games, the Mavs held the Celtics to 41.6 percent shooting. With the way that Dirk Nowitzki and Brandan Wright were working on the offensive end, the Mavs managed to beat a playoff-caliber Boston team.
Nowitzki, whose low shot totals in recent games had been an alarming trend, scored 22 points on 8-of-15 shooting. Wright, a surprise starter at center, scored a season-high 23 points on 11-of-16 shooting.
The different styles of Nowitzki and Wright complemented each other well. Nowitzki, as has been the case for years, did most of his damage with midrange jumpers. The majority of Wright’s buckets came around -– and over -– the rim.
Shawn Marion made his presence felt in his return after missing eight games due to a strained left calf. He posted a double-double with 11 points and a game-high 13 rebounds.
O.J. Mayo added 10 points and nine assists, hitting a dagger 3 with 1:21 remaining.
Jason Terry, Nowitzki’s scoring sidekick for eight seasons before signing with the Celtics last summer, was a nonfactor in his return to the American Airlines Center. Terry, who received a standing ovation when he checked into the game in the first quarter, scored only eight points on 3-of-9 shooting.
What it means: The Mavs avoided losing consecutive games for the first time this month. Dallas (33-36) is 8-4 in March, keeping its slim playoff hopes alive. The Mavs are 2½ games out of eighth place in the West standings after the Los Angeles Lakers’ late loss to the Washington Wizards. The Celtics (36-32) fell to seventh in the East, a half-game behind the Chicago Bulls.
Play of the game: Vince Carter threw down an electrifying tomahawk dunk off a backdoor cut in the third quarter. After Carter cut and caught a bounce pass from Chris Kaman, he vaulted off two feet, cocked the ball back and threw it down to give the Mavs a 10-point lead.
Stat of the night: The Mavs never trailed in a game for just the second time this season. The other was a Jan. 14 home win against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The NBA’s leading scorer lit up the Mavs for 17 of his 31 points during a span of just more than five minutes in the fourth quarter, putting on a shot-creating clinic and pumping the Thunder’s lead up to six points with 4:15 remaining. The Mavs fought back to tie it up again, but Russell Westbrook’s pull-up jumper at the 1:00 mark gave OKC the lead for good.
The Mavs, who were missing defensive stopper Shawn Marion (calf) for the second consecutive game, did a terrific job defending Durant for the first three-plus quarters. But Durant dominated for a chunk of the fourth quarter.
Durant's go-ahead jumper with 9:28 remaining was his first basket of the second half. That started a scoring flurry over the next 5:13 that featured an and-1 drive, a contested 3, another drive for a layup, a floater in the lane, a pull-up 3 and a Dirk-esque, off-the-dribble, one-legged fadeaway.
Meanwhile, Dirk Nowitzki didn’t get a shot from the floor in the fourth quarter, despite 8-of-10 shooting in the first three frames. Nowitzki finished with 23 points, including the free throws that tied it up with a little more than a minute remaining.
Westbrook, who finished with 35 points on 13-of-23 shooting and six assists, carried Oklahoma City for most of the game.
The Mavs got 18 points from sixth man Vince Carter, including seven in the fourth quarter while the Mavs couldn’t figure out how to get their superstar the ball.
What it means: The Mavs fell to 31-35, putting them four games behind the eighth-place Los Angeles Lakers after L.A.'s win Sunday over the Sacramento Kings. The Mavs were swept in the season series by the Thunder and San Antonio Spurs, the two teams fighting for the West’s top seed, one of which would be waiting if the Mavs somehow manage to sneak into the playoffs. The Mavs will have to reach deep to muster energy Monday night, when they’ll be in Atlanta for their fourth game in five nights.
Play of the game: Phenomenal displays of athleticism on both ends of the floor in the matter of four seconds seconds gave the Thunder the lead in the final minute of the first half. Serge Ibaka swatted Darren Collison’s layup attempt off the glass to spark a fast break that Westbrook finished with an emphatic two-handed slam off a feed from Thabo Sefolosha.
Stat of the night: The Mavs are 1-11 against the Thunder since beating Oklahoma City in the 2011 Western Conference finals, including last season’s sweep in the first round of the playoffs. The Mavs have lost their last 10 games against the Thunder.
A flurry of 3-pointers by Mike James and Vince Carter stretched Dallas’ lead to 15 early in the fourth quarter, but Detroit roared off a 24-8 run to take a 97-96 lead -- their first since the first quarter.
|Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle joins Galloway & Company to discuss who he wants to keep for next season, O.J. Mayo's impressive night and much more. |
But Nowitzki, who finished with 12 points on 6-of-14 shooting, missed midrange jumpers on the Mavs’ last two possessions, leaving the door open for Detroit to send the game into overtime.
The 23-41 Pistons failed to take advantage of the opportunity. Charlie Villanueva’s tip-in with six seconds remaining, which trimmed the deficit to one, was Detroit’s only points in the final two minutes. Villanueva missed an open 3 with seconds remaining after Darren Collison's clutch free throws bumped the Mavs' lead back to three.
O.J. Mayo scored a game-high 22 points, shooting 5-of-8 from 3-point range. Seven Mavs scored in double figures.
What it means: The Mavs have gotten out of their four-loss-in-five-games rut with two straight wins. Dallas improved to 28-33, including 20-7 against teams that are under .500. The 11th-place Mavs are 3 1/2 games out of the eighth seed in the West after Utah’s loss to Chicago.
Play of the game: The most memorable plays weren’t quite highlights. Pick your favorite Pistons blooper: Jason Maxiell getting stuffed by the rim on an uncontested dunk, or Brandon Knight missing a breakaway layup.
Stat of the night: James is 11-of-20 from 3-point range over the past four games, including 4-of-6 against the Pistons. The hot streak represents a remarkable turnaround for the 37-year-old guard, who knocked down only seven of 32 3-point attempts this season before suddenly finding his range.
The two legends put on a phenomenal show as two proud franchises fought for ninth place in the Western Conference.
Nowitzki had season highs in points (30) and rebounds (13) while making 11 of 19 shots from the floor. However, while the Mavs’ offense sputtered down the stretch, Bryant was at his best.
Bryant scored 14 of his game-high 38 points in the fourth quarter, including eight in the final 3:04. Bryant also finished with 12 rebounds and seven assists, a spectacular showing a couple of days after Mavs owner Mark Cuban hypothetically suggested the Lakers use the amnesty clause on the legend this summer.
The Mavs led by 3 after Nowitzki finished a fast break with a two-hand dunk with 6:41 remaining. That was Dallas’ last score until Vince Carter hit a jumper with 2:49 remaining.
Two technical fouls –- one on Nowitzki, one on O.J. Mayo –- for expressing their displeasure with the officiating also hurt the Mavs in the final minutes.
Dallas still had a chance to tie it up with four seconds remaining when Mayo’s 3 from the corner hit the rim and bounced out.
What it means: The Mavs’ playoff hopes took a major hit with a loss to one of their prime competitors for the West’s final seed. The Lakers (28-29), who have won 11 of their past 15 games, are two games up on the Mavs (25-30) and 2 1/2 games behind the Houston Rockets. This adds to the long list of heartbreaking losses this season for the Mavs, who had won five of their past six games. The Lakers have won two of three meetings with the Mavs this season and can claim the tie-breaker with a win in L.A. on April 2.
Play of the game: Bryant took two dribbles to his left, pump-faked to get Vince Carter off his feet and drained a midrange jumper with 42.6 seconds remaining. Bryant’s final bucket of a phenomenal performance made it a two-possession game again.
Stat of the day: Nowitzki’s double-double was his first of the season and the 370th of his career. He hadn’t had a double-double since March 19 of last season.
It was a season-high 26-point performance for Nowitzki which included a 3-pointer with 28 seconds left to give the Mavs a 104-101 lead.
The fact that it was in Portland, where the Mavericks' 2011 playoff run en route to the NBA championship all started, made Nowitzki's performance even more nostalgic.
But this time, another power forward stole the show.
Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge hit a step-back 3 to tie the score with five seconds left, then a game-winning turnaround baseline jumper at the buzzer to give the Trail Blazers a 106-104 victory over his hometown team.
"The difference between a good team and a bad team sometimes is just a couple possessions down the stretch, and we haven't really found a way to win those games consistently," Nowitzki said. "Usually in this league you win some and you lose some, but for some reason more times than not we're losing those games. It's extra tough."
If there's one bright spot to take from the Mavericks' dismal finish to Tuesday's game -- Dallas led by 21 points early in the third quarter -- it's Nowitzki's resurgence after having arthroscopic knee surgery in October that led to him missing the season's first 27 games.
He came into the game having scored 18 in Dallas' 110-95 victory Sunday over Phoenix.
Against Portland, Nowitzki seemed to get stronger as the game went along.
He had 10 at the half on 5-of-8 shooting. In the fourth quarter, he hit two 3-pointers and a number of clutch shots down the stretch. He finished the night 11-of-21 from the field and 2-of-6 from distance.
After Portland took its first lead of the second half at the 6:43 mark of the fourth quarter on Sasha Pavlovic's layup, Nowitzki answered with his first 3 of the game.
He then hit a baseline jumper with 3:53 left to stretch the Mavericks' lead to 96-92.
His 3 with 28 seconds left gave him 12 points in the quarter.
"It's getting better, getting better; we knew that," he said. "It was ugly the first couple weeks, but my legs and my wind is coming back. I felt fine out there."
Still, his best performance of the season came under lousy circumstances.
After Aldridge tied the score, O.J. Mayo was called for an offensive foul while attempting what could have been the game-winning shot on a floater in the lane.
"Usually you make a 3 and are up three with 30 seconds to go, you've got to get one stop, got to get one stop, and we didn't," Nowitzki said.
The close losses keep adding up in the month of January, which also includes three overtime losses and three six-point defeats for the Mavs.
"It's about as tough as it gets in this league, for sure," Nowitzki said. "We play well enough to win, but more than not we find ways to lose rather than find ways to win. And that's the sad thing. But hey, you've got to try to keep working. This team is resilient."
Nowitzki said he's eager to look at film Wednesday, particularly the defensive breakdowns that led to 32 points in the third and fourth quarters for the Blazers. He said when Portland brought in outside shooting forward Luke Babbitt to start the second half, it freed up Aldridge, who finished with a game-high 29 points, to go to work inside.
"I thought that changed the game a little bit, when they put another shooter in and they made a huge run," Nowitzki said. "We didn't do a good job executing down the stretch. ... To give up 32 in the third and 32 in the fourth, that's a losing formula."
Tony Parker and San Antonio’s role players took care of business in Dallas while the Spurs’ star big man (knee) and coach (sick) rested.
Parker had 23 points and 10 assists despite missing most of the first quarter after requiring three stitches to close several cuts above his left eye. He was especially dominant during the third quarter, scoring seven points and dishing out six assists while the Spurs’ lead swelled to as large as 26 points.
Reserve forward/center DeJuan Blair scored a season-high 22 points in 19 minutes to lead seven Spurs in double figures. Center Tiago Splitter added a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds.
The Mavs, sparked by Rodrigue Beaubois’ season-high 19 points, managed to trim San Antonio’s lead to 10 midway through the fourth quarter. The home team didn't get closer until the final minute, when the Mavs went on an 11-0 run to make this game look much more competitive than it really was.
What it means: Four days of rest obviously didn’t do the Mavs much good. Their run of five wins in six games seems like a long time ago after this rout. With the Rockets beating the Hornets, the 18-25 Mavs fell four games back in the battle for the West’s eighth seed. Dallas is 5-17 against opponents who are .500 or better.
Play of the game: After a botched Mavs fast break, the Spurs had a more successful transition possession. Kawhi Leonard hit trailer Boris Diaw, who took a couple of dribbles into the lane, got Dirk Nowitzki to commit to him and delivered a beautiful, behind-the-back feed to Splitter for a reverse layup. The bucket extended the Spurs’ lead to 25 with a little less than seven minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Stat of the night: Beaubois had more points in this game than he did during the entire month of December (15).
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Nowitzki, who was admittedly disappointed and frustrated after the Mavs dropped to eight games below .500 with their eighth loss in nine games Saturday night, told ESPNDallas.com that owner Mark Cuban's post-lockout decision to let Tyson Chandler and other key members of the 2011 title team leave could be judged as "a mistake or not" after seeing whether the Mavs are able to make any major personnel moves this summer.
Chris Paul and Dwight Howard did not hit the free agency market last summer as anticipated when Dallas decided to create significant salary cap space for the first time in Cuban's 13-year ownership tenure -- they both can be free agents this summer -- and the Mavs' recruiting efforts failed to land Deron Williams.
"It's going to be tough now," Nowitzki said after the Mavs' home overtime loss to the Western Conference cellar-dwelling New Orleans Hornets. "I always liked to think you don't want to build your franchise on hope.
Read more about Dirk's thoughts on the Mavs' plan.
How it happened: The Dallas Mavericks appeared to have retained some of its magic from the win over the Los Angeles Lakers early after making five straight shots to open the game. The Mavs eventually cooled off after shooting 10-of-16 from 3-point range in the first half, only to see the Utah Jazz heat up and run away with it late in the third quarter.
Jazz newcomers Mo Williams and Marvin Williams did the bulk of the damage in helping their team rally from an eight-point halftime deficit. Mo and Marvin each finished with 21 points, combining to shoot 48.3 percent from the field and 57.1 percent from 3-point range.
It was too much for the Mavs to handle when their own offense went to sleep. Utah outscored Dallas 37-13 in the third quarter after the Mavericks converted just 5-of-22 FG attempts.
Darren Collison and Brandan Wright provided the only bright spots by building on strong opening-night performances against Los Angeles. Collison scored a team-high 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting and dished out seven assists. Wright added 15 points on 7-of-8 shooting.
Dirk Nowitzki and Chris Kaman is going to provide rocky moments. The Mavs just simply don't have enough frontcourt strength to adequately compete with dominant low-post teams when those two aren't healthy. Utah proved it by controlling the glass for four quarters. The Jazz outrebounded the Mavs 57-35. Paul Millsap (15 rebounds), Al Jefferson (14) and Derrick Favors (10) all reached double figures on the glass. Only Shawn Marion proved able to match that effort for the Mavs with 11 boards.
Play of the game: Mo Williams showed late in the third quarter why the Jazz wanted so badly to bring their former draft pick back into the fold. Williams buried a 3-pointer to break a 74-74 tie. Then, after Gordon Hayward stripped the ball on the other end, Williams drilled another one to ignite a decisive 18-2 quarter-ending run that put Utah ahead for good.
Stat of the night: Dallas won eight straight Halloween night games before Utah brought an abrupt end to the streak Wednesday night.
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Play Podcast Mark Cuban joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Mavericks' new GM Gersson Rosas and much more.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss Mark Cuban's comments from Las Vegas about the Mavericks' offseason, how he sees the team without Dwight Howard and more.
Play Podcast Marc Stein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why the Mavericks didn't want to match Cleveland's offer to Andrew Bynum, what's next for the Mavs and the possibility of Dirk Nowitzki ending his career elsewhere.
Play Podcast Jeff Platt fires quick-hitters at Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon in the weekly sports standoff about Andrew Bynum, the Mavs' current backcourt, a potential Nelson Cruz suspension and more.
Play Podcast ESPN Los Angeles' Ramona Shelburne joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why she thinks Andrew Bynum got a bad rap in Los Angeles and how he would fit in with the Mavericks.
Play Podcast Buy, sell or hold? If Dwight Howard goes to another team, what are the Mavs' options? The guys take a look at a list of potential fallback options.
Play Podcast ESPN's Marc Stein joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the latest news on the Mavericks' meeting with Dwight Howard.