Inside Report: Mavericks-Warriors recap — Dirk, Roddy power comeback, Mavs end two-game skid
Inside Report: Mavericks-Warriors recap — Dirk, Roddy power comeback, Mavs end two-game skid
Earl K. Sneed recaps the action from ORACLE Arena, where the Mavericks stormed back from an 18-point deficit in the first half and battled their way to a victory over the Warriors led by big nights for Dirk Nowitzki and Rodrigue Beaubois.
OAKLAND, Calif. — With his team in a bit of disarray following a fourth loss in the its previous six games coming into Wednesday night’s nationally-televised matchup with an upstart Golden State Warriors squad, Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle spoke with the confidence that he hoped his team would display on the hardwood.
Less than 24 hours after suffering a 104-101 defeat in Portland, the Mavericks’ second straight loss, Carlisle said he fully expected for his players to come out revitalized while looking to duplicate a 105-100 win over the high-scoring Warriors in Dallas back on Dec. 7.
“I expect us to respond well. I mean, that’s the kind of team we’ve been,” Carlisle said before taking the court. “This is a difficult game tonight, a different kind of game. We’re gonna need a lot of guys to play and play well, and transition defense is going to be a big part of it.”
Despite a poor start and sluggish play throughout the game, the Mavericks (48-20) would in fact get back into the win column, outlasting the Warriors en route to a 112-106 win.
But in order to do so, the Mavs would once again have to make up for the loss of backup big man Brendan Haywood, as the 7-footer missed his second straight game due to lower back stiffness — joining sharpshooter Peja Stojakovic as he missed his fifth straight contest while receiving treatment back in Dallas for a stiff neck.
Looking for a spark, Carlisle inserted newcomer Corey Brewer into the starting lineup at small forward, sending versatile three-man Shawn Marion back to the bench after starting four straight outings in place of Stojakovic.
Brewer would begin the game on the NBA’s seventh-leading scorer, Monta Ellis, on the defensive end. But not even the four-year defensive-oriented forward was enough to prevent the Warriors (30-38) from beginning the game on a 10-0 run. It would be a sign of things to come, as the Warriors opened up a lead as large as 18 in the opening quarter before an 11-2 spurt — led by sixth man Jason Terry — brought the Mavs to within nine, 34-25, heading into the second period.
The Warriors shot 15-of-19 from the floor in the first quarter, while the Mavs hit just 10-of-24 at the other end.
“We had to keep searching for a group that could get us some traction. We were sluggish to start the game, maybe a hangover from last night,” Carlisle explained. “Whatever it may be, maybe it’s just a team that had us on our heels. Whatever the case, NBA games are long and you’ve got to keep playing. And we had to stay positive with our guys.”
“It was a slow start I’d say,” forward Dirk Nowitzki jokingly admitted. “They were all over us early. We obviously came off a tough game yesterday, a physical game, and that’s why we looked like we did early. We were just a step slow to everything, and you’ve got to give them credit. They came out blazing.”
Despite the best efforts of Nowitzki and Marion, the Mavericks would once again find themselves in a double-digit hole early in the second stanza, as Ellis and Warriors big man David Lee tried to put the game out of reach. But after once again falling behind by 18 the duo of Terry and second-year guard Rodrigue Beaubois would bring the Mavs back, heading into the locker room at the halftime intermission down just six, 59-53, despite their sluggish start.
“I think everybody started taking the challenge of guarding their guys a little bit, and that’s the biggest thing we’ve got to do,” Marion explained. “As far as executing game plans and all that, at the end of the day, sometimes you’ve just got to guard your man.”
The Warriors outshot the Mavs through two quarters, 61 percent to 45 percent. And although Lee and Ellis combined to score 31 points at the half, the Mavericks were able to remain close behind double-figure scoring from Nowitzki (13), Marion (12) and Terry (10). The Mavs also kept pace with the Warriors in fast-break scoring, with Golden State holding a 14-10 edge after 24 minutes of play.
Terry got the start in place of Brewer to begin the second half, with Carlisle switching to a three-guard lineup as Beaubois and point guard Jason Kidd shared the backcourt.
“JET [Terry] was in a good rhythm and I just felt that it was the right thing to do. It’s atypical, because we don’t like running his minutes up like that and that’s one of the reasons I didn’t start Marion tonight because he played 38 minutes last night. And hey, look, we’ve got to look at guys that we have. I had to see Brewer in a starting role and we’ll keep looking at things,” Carlisle said of the decision.
“That’s definitely a lineup that we’re gonna look at and it worked for us tonight,” Terry added. “In the summer we envisioned it, we talked a lot about it, but we hadn’t seen it yet. And tonight was a good example of it.”
And after another poor start to a quarter the strategy would work, as the Mavericks would tie the game at 69-all on a Nowitzki jumper with 4:11 left in the third. A 2-for-2 trip at the foul line by Nowitzki would then give the Mavs the lead for the first time in the game, 73-72, before heading into the final period knotted at 81-all as Beaubois scored with ease and defended Ellis in a highlight-filled one-on-one matchup.
“Any time you can help your team everything helps, so I just tried to play defense on him,” Beaubois said of his matchup with Ellis. “For sure, he’s a great player, so it wasn’t easy. But I just tried to use me length and I think I did a decent job on him, for sure.”
“I actually give Roddy a lot of credit, he really took the challenge of Monta. He was phenomenal tonight,” Nowitzki said with praise for his young teammate.
Continuing the trend of the game, however, the Mavs would again start off a quarter slowly, with former Texas A&M and Baylor standouts Acie Law and Ekpe Udoh helping the Warriors start the fourth on a 7-2 run. Back-to-back 3-pointers by Ellis and Dorell Wright would put the Mavs at a seven-point disadvantage, until Terry and Beaubois tried to take matters into their own hands before Kidd swished in a three to tie the game at 96-96 with 5:34 remaining.
After Beaubois gave the Mavs the lead with a breakaway layup, Nowitzki would reassume the scoring responsibilities with a personal 6-0 run as the Dallas squad began to pull away. But it would be the Dallas defense that would close the game out, as defensive stops piled up before Nowitzki finished the Warriors off at the foul line, lifting the Mavs to an eight-point lead with a pair of strokes at the charity stripe with 17.1 seconds left. Carlisle would then clear his bench, as Wright’s late three was too little, too late.
“It was a great game. It sucked that we had to climb out of a big hole, but we fought to the end and we got a great win,” Marion said.
“We just kept fighting and we did a great job to come back,” Beaubois added.
Nowitzki would finish with a game-high 34 points on 10-of-22 shooting, adding 13 rebounds to boot, after starting the game 1-for-6 from the floor.
“Well, early in the game they were real aggressive on him and he was having difficulties getting into a rhythm, so he went and got three or four offensive rebounds and put them back in and got himself into the game, which some times you have to do,” Carlisle said of his star’s night.
Falling short of the career-high 40-point night he posted on the Warriors when he stepped into ORACLE Arena last March, Beaubois did manage to tally up a season-high 18 points, four assists and four steals. Meanwhile, center Tyson Chandler pitched in 13 points and eight rebounds in the starting lineup, bolstered by Kidd’s 11 assists. Terry’s 19 points led the Mavericks’ reserves, with Marion’s 14 and J.J. Barea’s 10 giving Dallas a 43-27 edge in bench scoring.
Ellis led the Warriors with 26 points, while Lee finished with 22. And by the narrowest of margins the Mavericks outshot the Warriors, 51.9 percent to 51.2 percent. Both teams also stroked the 3-ball with regularity, as the Mavs’ 8-for-19 night from behind the arc bettered Golden State’s 9-of-24 shooting from long range at the other end.
Although the Warriors did finish with one less turnover, 13, than the Mavs, Dallas’ 41-31 rebounding edge and eight more free throw attempts — going 24-of-27 at the line — would prove to be the differences.
The Mavericks will now take Thursday off, traveling back to the Lone Star State for their final shot at the league-leading San Antonio Spurs on Friday night. The Spurs lead the season series with the Mavs 2-1, with both of San Antonio’s wins coming when Nowitzki was sidelined with a sprained right knee from the end of December into mid-January.
The Spurs (54-13) are still trying to spit out the bad taste of a season-worst 30-point loss in Miami on Monday night.
“Good test again, and they just came off a tough loss against Miami. I read today somewhere that they had a three-hour practice for the first time all year, so you know they’re gonna be fired up and ready to play,” Nowitzki said. “And always when you lose by a big margin you’re gonna come out swinging, so it should be a fun game. Hopefully, the AAC will be rocking and it should be a fun game to be a part of.”
“Everybody is gonna talk about how this is just another game, not for this team, not for us,” Terry added. “We’ve struggled since the break against teams that are right there in contention for a championship, so it’s a measuring stick for us. How far have we come? And they’re playing great, so it’s gonna be on us to go out there and prove what we can do.”
Note: The team returns to the American Airlines Center next Friday night to host the league-leading San Antonio Spurs. San Antonio leads the season series 2-1. The matchup will tip off at 7:30 p.m. CT, airing locally on Fox Sports Southwest. Great seats are still available and tickets can be purchased by visiting the American Airlines Center box office, logging on to Mavs.com or by calling 214-747-MAVS (6287).
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