Recap: Balanced scoring, gritty play lifts Mavs to win in Orlando
Recap: Mavericks 111 at Magic 105
Balanced scoring, gritty play lifts Mavs to win in Orlando
Looking to build on a 3-1 homestand, Carlisle and the Mavericks also went in search of a seventh straight road win in Orlando. And with the team’s eighth overtime loss of the season in the past, Carlisle turned his attention to the present as the Mavs entered the Amway Center trying to continue their dominance on the Magic’s home floor.
“Winning three out of those four at home was a positive for us, but we’re digging out of a hole, so we’ve got to continue to dig and to grind,” Carlisle simply said entering the night.
And with a 111-105 road win, the Mavericks (18-24) continued to dig in the right direction.
But the coach wouldn’t foresee a sluggish start for his team to open the game, forced to call a timeout with the Mavericks in a 14-2 hole with 7:39 left in the opening quarter. The visiting Mavs then found themselves down as much as 14 before staging a comeback led by the bench play of eight-time All-Star Vince Carter and backup big man Elton Brand, utilizing a 15-0 run to sprint ahead while speeding up the tempo.
“Me and Vince joke about that. You know, if it’s not going well in the starting unit, that’s our job to come and clean things up,” Brand said. “And that’s what we did. We cut the lead down and kind of righted the ship a little bit.”
“Sometimes teams get hot and sometimes teams can’t make shots,” Carlisle explained. “What we had to do was hang in and not panic, keep our composure but get more aggressive. We did that. The guys off the bench, Vince and Elton, came in and got us juiced up. That second unit has been one of our better lineups during the year. They got us back into it. … And being able to get the lead in the first quarter was huge for us.”
The Mavs then escaped into the second stanza with a 26-24 edge under their belt.
“Sometimes teams get hot and sometimes teams can’t make shots,” Carlisle explained. What we had to do was hang in and not panic, keep our composure but get more aggressive. We did that. The guys off the bench, Vince and Elton, came in and got us juiced up. That second unit has been one of our better lineups during the year. They got us back into it. … And being able to get the lead in the first quarter was huge for us.”
The two teams remained in a tightly-contested game through the early stage of the second period while exchanging scores. And with the pace quickening, four-time All-Star Shawn Marion took charge of the Mavs’ scoring duties while moving into double figures with cuts to the basket.
Brand also continued to come alive inside, scoring with ease after reentering the game off the bench. Dallas then surged ahead by 11 on point guard Darren Collison’s 3-pointer late in the first half before taking a 57-48 advantage into the intermission.
“We kept it together and we stayed focused. We did what we had to do and went on a run,” Marion said after the sluggish start to the night.
Led by 12 points apiece for Marion and Brand on a combined 12-of-17 shooting, the Mavs outshot the Magic through the first 24 minutes of action, 58.1 percent to 46.2 percent. Committing just four turnovers in the half, the Mavs also converted the Magic’s eight giveaways into 11 points at the other end of the floor while assuming the upper hand.
“[Brand] had a great rhythm going in the second quarter, so I decided to roll with it. And then as luck would have it, with kind of how things have gone this year, he kind of went cold the start of the third. The irony was Kaman gave us a huge lift off the bench. He gave us the same lift that Elton gave us in the first half. He played strong, he gave us an inside game, he hit a couple of shots and got to the free-throw line. I thought he played one of his stronger segments of minutes. It’s just more proof how important everybody is on this team and it’s got to be a tag-team deal. We’ve got two or three guys manning each position. They’ve got to look at it like they are a team that’s got to do a job, and tonight the center position came through for us,” the coach explained.
Meanwhile, frustration would build for the Magic (14-26) as Glen Davis was assessed a technical foul for arguing with officials after the Mavs seized a 62-52 lead with 9:31 left in the third.
But the Magic immediately stormed back with an 11-0 run to tie the game at 63-all before Mavs leading scorer O.J. Mayo began to assert himself. And with Mayo, Carter and Kaman all moving into double figures, the Mavs entered into the final 12 minutes of play with an 85-75 lead.
“Our bench has been big for us all year in situations when we don’t do a good job starting games,” 11-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki said. “We didn’t do a good job of starting the third and they pushed it down to two points. Our bench has been big for us and Vince has been playing phenomenal for us all year. I thought he attacked and really looked for his shot.”
Coming alive at the offensive end, Nowitzki also stepped it up on the defensive side of the ball, rejecting a drive by J.J. Redick that eventually led to a 3-pointer by Carter to go up 94-83. A highlight reel tip-in by rookie Jae Crowder then helped the Mavs equal their largest lead at 13.
But again the Magic charged within single digits, cutting the lead to 102-96 on Redick’s jumper inside of 4:00 to play before a Marion floater to keep the home team at bay.
Redick continued to attack, hitting on a driving reverse. Still, the Mavs refused to give in as Carter penetrated and kicked the ball out to Collison in the corner for a 3-pointer to go up 107-102 with 31.9 ticks left.
“Biggest play of the game,” Carlisle said of the sequence. “It was pretty clear at that time we needed to space the floor, and Vince penetrated and he had three options. Darren stepped into that thing with a lot of confidence and knocked it in. Plays like that define guys that can close games, so that’s a big shot. It’s a big shot for us, a big shot for him and we really needed it.”
“It was just a play that has a lot of options,” Carter added. “You had to make a quick decision, and I saw Jameer [Nelson] kind of sagging in and helping on the roll guy. I threw it to D.C. [Collison] in confidence and told him, ‘If you’re open, be ready to shoot the ball.’ He didn’t hesitate and knocked the shot down. That is what our team is about or has become. We have to trust each other to make the right play. When you are open, shoot it, whether you make it or miss it.”
The shot would be answered immediately by Redick, however, as he connected on a 3-pointer at the other end. But after being tied up with Nelson, Carter won a jumpball with 23.3 seconds on the clock before Nowitzki connected on a pair of free throws with 15.1 remaining following a foul by Arron Afflalo. Mayo then put the game away with more strokes from the charity stripe.
Leading seven scorers in double figures, Marion posted a double-double with 20 points on 10-of-16 shooting to go along with 10 rebounds. Carter and Mayo added 15 points apiece, while Brand pitched in 14 points off the bench, Kaman registered 13 points, Nowitzki posted 12 points – making up for a 4-of-11 shooting night with seven rebounds, four assists and three blocked shots – and Collison scored 11 points to go along with nine assists.
“We got a big win and everybody contributed,” Marion said after the Mavs dished out 29 assists as a team. “It is a good team win and we have to build on it. We have to keep sharing the wealth. We have to keep looking for each other and make it easier for ourselves. When we are moving the ball like that, there isn’t anybody that can guard us.”
“Balance has got to be one of the keys to our team. Until Dirk gets all the way back, we can’t heap it all on him. We can’t heap it all on anybody the way we’re set up now,” Carlisle added. “Our approach is to be a balanced team. We try not to play anybody too heavy minutes. The games are all of major importance. The guys care, so they’ve hung in and stayed the course, and it has not been easy.”
Davis led the Magic with 24 points and Nelson added 20 points, as Orlando’s 50.6 percent shooting just bettered Dallas’ 50 percent at the other end of the floor. The Mavs, however, finished the night with a 43-42 rebounding edge, a 48-40 margin in points in the paint, a 22-10 separation in fast-break points and 24 points off Orlando’s 14 turnovers while committing just eight giveaways themselves.
The Mavericks will now enjoy a break in the schedule before returning to action Friday night at home against the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs lead the season series 2-0 after two double-digit wins back in December. The game will air locally at 7 p.m. CT on Fox Sports Southwest and nationally on ESPN. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling (214) 747-MAVS (6287) or by visiting Mavs.com.
“Basically the second half of the season started today, so hopefully we can make a push,” Nowitzki said while looking ahead. “I think we had a big week. Now, we’re only three games back of the eighth spot (in the Western Conference playoff standings), and when we started this week it was almost seven. So it was definitely a great week for us. Now, we’ve got four days off and we’ve got some time to mix in a little rest, but also a lot of good work and get better. Then we’ve got the Spurs Friday, which is obviously one of the best teams in the West.”