POSTED: Nov 13, 2012 9:31 AM ET
THE FACTS: Already missing five of its key players, Minnesota lost a sixth due to injury during the third quarter and still escaped Dallas with a 90-82 victory Monday night. Nikola Pekovic paced five players in double figures for the Timberwolves, who led most of the night against a messy Mavericks squad that suffered its third straight loss.
Andrei Kirilenko contributed 16 points and 11 rebounds, his third double-double of the season, and Minnesota got 16 points from rookie Alexey Shved, 15 from Luke Ridnour and 14 from Dante Cunningham. Pekovic left in the third quarter after rolling his left ankle and did not return, adding his name to an injury list that already includes Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio, Brandon Roy, Jose Barea and Chase Budinger.
The Mavericks, whose only lead of the game was 5-3, set season lows for points, shooting (36.2 percent), 3-point field goals (four) and 3-point accuracy (25.0 percent). Darren Collison led Dallas with a season-high 21 points, with O.J. Mayo adding 18 points and Chris Kaman the only other player in double figures with 12.
QUOTABLE: "It's not the end of the world. At the same time, we've got to continue get better. We can't stay the same."
--Mavericks guard O.J. Mayo
THE STAT: The Mavericks trailed at halftime for the first time this season. They were down 45-39 at the break after shooting just 34.9 percent (15-for-43). Dallas scored a season-low 17 points in the first quarter.
TURNING POINT: The Mavericks mounted their last serious challenge in the second quarter with an 11-2 run that sliced Minnesota's lead to 31-28. The Timberwolves counterpunched with a 10-2 surge that included a three-point play and two free throws by Pekovic.
QUOTABLE II: "I just know I've got to coach these guys harder and keep getting them better. It's tough. We got carved up in the first half. Our effort wasn't where it needed to be. I thought we tried hard in the second half, and the results were still not good. It's tough right now. We've got to just keep at it."
--Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle
GOOD MOVE: Minnesota coach Rick Adelman said he gave shooting guard Malcolm Lee his first career start because he liked the spark that Shved provides off the bench. Although the rookie Shved was just 3-for-12 (1-for-6 from downtown), he went 9-for-11 at the line and finished with five assists, four rebounds and three blocked shots.
BAD MOVE: After Dallas pulled within 76-68 on a three-point play by Collison, Carlisle argued a foul call against Mayo a little too vehemently. He drew two quick technicals and was ejected with 5:00 remaining, with the Timberwolves going 3-for-4 on the ensuing free throws to stretch their lead back to 11.
FANTASY SPOTLIGHT: Ridnour was all over the court -- and the box score -- finishing with eight rebounds, a team-high seven assists and a game-high four steals.
INSIDE THE ARENA: It was Military Appreciation Night at the American Airlines Center. At halftime, there was a special re-enlistment ceremony at center court for 11 members of the U.S. Navy. Mavericks guards Mayo and Vince Carter wore red, white and blue headbands during the first half.
ROOKIE WATCH: It was a particularly meaningful Veterans Day for Mavericks rookie forward/center Bernard James, a former staff sergeant who spent six years in the U.S. Air Force and served tours in Iraq, Afghanistan and Qatar before playing two seasons at Florida State. James played 10 minutes off the bench and tallied six points and four rebounds.
NOTABLE: Adelman sounded hopeful that guards Brandon Roy (sore right knee) and Jose Barea (left mid-foot sprain) would play Wednesday against the Bobcats. ... The Mavericks had won their first three games at home this season while averaging 116.3 points. ... Minnesota outrebounded Dallas 49-35. ... There was no immediate word on the extent of Pekovic's injury.
UP NEXT: For the Mavericks, Wednesday vs. Washington, Friday @ Indiana, Saturday @ Cleveland. For the Timberwolves, Wednesday vs. Charlotte, Friday vs. Golden State, Nov. 21 vs. Denver.