DALLAS (AP) -- Erick Dampier won't be getting back into the
starting lineup for the Dallas Mavericks any time soon if the
center keeps playing like this off the bench.
A reserve for the second straight game after starting the first
36, Dampier had seven rebounds and two assists in his first five
minutes to help the Mavericks take control early against the
Milwaukee Bucks on Monday.
He finished with 10 rebounds in 14 minutes and Dirk Nowitzki
scored 35 points in Dallas' 114-95 victory.
"With Damp coming in, he's bring a lot more energy," said Josh Howard, who had 21 points and 11 rebounds. "That's what we needed
from him. I think that's going to get him his drive back."
DeSagana Diop, who replaced Dampier in the starting lineup, was
scoreless with six rebounds and two blocked shots in 28 minutes.
Coach Avery Johnson, who prefers rebounding and blocks over
scoring from his centers, doesn't sound like he plans to change the
lineup anytime soon.
"I expected him to rebound really hard and go after blocked
shots. That's what he did," Johnson said of Dampier. "He had one
block on paper, but got up and tipped some balls. ... Now Damp is
playing against some backups. That makes a difference, especially
Nowitzki made up for the poor-shooting game he had last time against Milwaukee, hitting 14-of-21 from the floor.
Nowitzki shot 5-of-22 and scored 18 points at
Milwaukee on Nov. 29, a game Dallas lost 113-111 in overtime.
When Nowitzki scored the first seven points after halftime for
the Mavericks this time, they led by 18 points and were well on way to their second straight lopsided victory. The 7-footer
already had 24 points.
"When Dirk has his jump shot, he's going to be a tough cover,"
Bucks coach Terry Stotts said. "They put him in a lot of different
situations, and he takes advantage."
The Mavericks scored at least 110 points for the third straight
game, and fourth time in six games. They had eclipsed that mark
three times their first 32 games.
"Offensively, we really were able to get anything we wanted,"
Nowitzki said. "We were moving the ball well, we were penetrating.
We got open shots and we're at our best when running and moving the
ball like we did."
Jason Terry had 20 points for the Mavericks, who play their next
five games on the road.
Coming off a 110-77 victory over the New Jersey Nets on Saturday
night, Dallas got off to a sluggish start against the Bucks.
The Mavs missed their first four shots and had three turnovers
while Milwaukee jumped to a 7-0 lead on Redd's 3-pointer 2½
minutes into the game. Dallas had just two turnovers the rest of
the half and went ahead 13-12 on a 15-foot jumper by Nowitzki
midway through the first quarter.
"We start out well and had good energy," Stotts said. "But
they wore us down."
Keith Van Horn hit two free throws to make it 27-25 with 2.6
seconds left in the first quarter. The Mavericks never trailed
again and Van Horn, who scored nine points in less than six
minutes, didn't play any more.
A minute after entering the game, Van Horn came down awkwardly
on his first basket, a driving finger-roll shot. He stayed in and
played, often grimacing in pain, until after his go-ahead free
throws. He had X-rays and is considered day-to-day with a sprained
Dampier blocked a reverse layup attempted by Dan Gadzuric in the
second quarter, then had a putback slam at the other end to put the
Mavs up 38-32.
"I just went out to rebound and do whatever I can to get my
hands on the ball and defend," Dampier said. "I've always been a
rebounder and I can block shots. Whenever I get the opportunity, I
try to make the most of it."
After Terry drove for a layup and added a free throw to make it
50-38, the Mavericks maintained a double-digit lead the rest of the
game. They led 58-45 at halftime.
Dallas is 13-3 against Eastern Conference teams, 7-0 at
home. ... Redd had made 30 straight free throws over seven games
before a miss in the second quarter. ... Terry missed only 27 free
throws all last season. He had his 28th miss Monday. ... Milwaukee Brewers general manager Doug Melvin, who used to be the
GM for the Texas Rangers, attended the game.