Recap: Bobcats 99 at Mavericks 126; Mayo leads Mavs' offensive explosion
Earl K. Sneed recaps Saturday night's blowout win for the Dallas Mavericks over Charlotte, as guard O.J. Mayo drained a career-high seven 3-pointers to lead six players in double figures.
Recap: Bobcats 99 at Mavericks 126; Mayo leads Mavs' offensive explosion
DALLAS — For a Dallas Mavericks team looking to rebound from a second-half collapse Wednesday night in Utah, the Charlotte Bobcats appeared to be the perfect opponents for Saturday night’s home opener.
Entering Saturday night, the Mavericks were a perfect 15-0 against the young Charlotte franchise. But, after the Bobcats’ 90-89 win in Indiana one night prior to bring to an end to a 23-game losing streak, the matchup was anything but a sure thing for the Mavs.
Welcoming in new addition Troy Murphy and reintegrating center Chris Kaman for the first time since he strained his right calf after the team's fourth preseason contest on Oct. 17, the Mavericks attempted to rebound from a 113-94 defeat in Salt Lake City. And while continuing to play without 11-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki after his arthroscopic knee surgery on Oct. 19, the Mavs also went in search of a victory on their home floor for the first time this season, attempting to extend their victorious streak over the visiting squad.
The trend would continue.
Led by sharpshooter O.J. Mayo, backcourt mate Darren Collison and exceptional 3-point shooting, the Mavs would have no problems running off a 16th straight W over the Charlotte team. And with six players scoring in double figures, the Mavericks (2-1) collected their first home win of the season and Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle's 200th regular-season W as the head man in Dallas after a 126-99 victory.
“We’re professionals, so we’re trying to put it together rather fast and make sure we have some success here, knowing that Dirk’s out and we’ve been having a couple of injuries,” Mayo would say after the win. “We’re just trying to go out there and take care of business. We wanted to come out with an attack mentality and really just get after it.”
Even with Kaman available, Carlisle would stick with the starting lineup of big men Brandan Wright and Elton Brand, forward Shawn Marion, Mayo and Collison. But, with Carlisle subbing rapidly in the early going, it would take less than two minutes to get Kaman onto the court.
Needing a spark after a sluggish start, the opening period would be highlighted by Marion’s at-the-rim rejection on ex-Maverick Brendan Haywood. The Mavs then turned defensive stops into instant offense at the other end, making up for Charlotte’s dominance on the glass by upping the tempo and jumping out to a double-digit lead. And with Vince Carter’s thunderous slam over Bismack Biyombo accompanying Mayo’s perimeter assault, the Mavs headed to the second stanza with a 31-19 advantage.
“I think today what made it easier was that we were getting in the paint,” Carter explained. “Guys were penetrating, and when the shot wasn’t there, we were conscious of their bigs. They did a great job of chasing whoever was in the lane, but we did an even better job of just moving the ball and finding open guys. We were shooting and making them.”
The start of the second quarter would be a different story, however, as the Bobcats (1-1) began the period on a 9-0 spurt to get back into the game, which would turn into a 17-4 run as the visiting team surged in front. Meanwhile, the Mavs’ turnovers continued to pile up, briefly slowing down the 1-2 duo of Collison and Mayo before the two lifted the home team to a 61-53 lead on Collison’s running 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Led by Mayo’s 16 first-half points on 5-of-12 from the floor and 3-for-6 from 3-point range, coupled with Collison’s 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting, the Mavericks’ 56.8 percent bettered the Bobcats’ 42.9 percent at the midway mark. As a team, the Mavs also connected on 5-for-10 from behind the arc, making up for 11 turnovers and Charlotte’s 24-21 rebounding edge.
Closing the first half in an impressive fashion, the backcourt of Mayo and Collison would open the third period with back-to-back 3-pointers. Mayo would then continue his destruction of the Bobcats’ defense from the outside with an array of shots from long range, before Collison’s alley-oop feed for Kaman helped the Mavs escape into the fourth with a 97-81 lead.
“I felt pretty good,” Kaman said of his return. “I just kind of want to be patient and look to move forward at a steady pace.”
“Chris has a knack for being in the right place. His teammates found him several times for easy ones. It’s good to have that going when you’re coming back from injury. It gets you back into the flow,” Carlisle added.
The Mavs wouldn’t cool off in the final 12 minutes of play, as 3-pointers by Carter, Mayo and rookie Jae Crowder helped put the game completely out of reach for a Charlotte comeback. With fourth-year guard Rodrigue Beaubois inactive after re-aggravating a left ankle injury, three-year pro Dominique Jones relieved Collison of the point guard duties while not skipping a beat. And with the final verdict no longer in doubt, the separation on the scoreboard would eventually reach as much as 29 before the final buzzer sounded with the Mavs eclipsing their season-high 122 points from a year ago against Phoenix on Jan. 30, 2012.
Finishing the night with a career-high for made 3-pointers, Mayo tallied up 30 points on 10-for-17 shooting and 7-for-10 from behind the arc.
“I mean, D.C. [Collison], you’ve gotta give him a lot of credit. He was getting in that lane and I got an opportunity to get some open shots. I knocked them down tonight,” Mayo modestly said with praise for his point guard.
Collison, meanwhile, engineered the offense to perfection, scoring 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting and dishing out 10 assists. Carter added 18 points, while Kaman returned to go 8-for-9 for his 16 points. Matching Wright’s 10 points, the rookie Crowder made it six Mavs in double figures.
Off the bench, Ramon Sessions led five Bobcats in double figures with 22 points on 8-of-13 shooting.
Overcoming 22 turnovers for 19 Charlotte points, the Mavericks ended the game outshooting the Bobcats, 61.3 percent to 42.9 percent, including 16-of-25 from 3-point range. With the addition of Kaman and Murphy, the Mavs also collected a 43-38 rebounding margin in the win, led by Marion’s nine boards.
“We played better defense, we rebounded better, and we were making threes tonight. You make 16 3s, you’re not going to lose many games, and it was a bit of a deodorant for some of our other transgressions,” Carlisle confessed. “We look to make strides, mild as they may be, and get better. We got better in some areas and there are other areas we’ve got to keep working at obviously.”
He added: “You can see [Kaman] is going to help us. We won the boards by five and he certainly had something to do with that. Murphy came into the game and he had five rebounds in eight minutes. That helps a lot.”
The Mavs will now continue their three-game homestand Monday night against the Portland Trail Blazers. The game will air locally at 7:30 p.m. CT on Fox Sports Southwest. Tickets for the game remain available and can be purchased by calling (214) 747-MAVS or by visiting Mavs.com.
“They’re playing well right now,” Mayo said while foreshadowing the Blazers. “We have a pretty tough task cut out for us, but that’s what you love about the NBA, because you get to face off and go out there and compete at a high level. We have a home game, so we’ll need our fans to have a lot of support that night and go out there and play hard.”