Recap: Carter sparks Mavs past Kings; into All-Star break after passing Bird on scoring list
Recap: Kings 100 at Mavericks 123
Carter sparks Mavs past Kings; into All-Star break after passing Bird on scoring list
DALLAS — After building momentum with consecutive wins over Portland and Golden State to begin their five-game homestand, the Dallas Mavericks admittedly took a step back following Monday night’s 105-101 loss to Atlanta.
Wednesday night, the Mavericks tried to get back on track, looking to extend the franchise’s longest ever home winning streak against an opponent after claiming 17 straight over the Sacramento Kings when the two squads met up in Dallas. The Mavs also hoped to go into the All-Star break on a high note with a victory in front of their hometown fans.
And after eight-time All-Star Vince Carter sparked an aerial assault from the 3-point line in the second half on a historic personal night for the Mavericks’ sixth man, the Dallas team left little doubt it would continue its dominance over the Sacramento squad en route to a 123-100 victory, producing the second-highest scoring output by the Mavs this season.
“I think this is a much-needed win,” Carter said. “I think we let one slip from us. We definitely needed that one against Atlanta, and I think that one would have made it a great homestand. I mean, it still was a great homestand, don’t get me wrong, but it was imperative that we came out tonight ready to play and playing to get a win to close before the break.”
Looking to get off to a better start to the night after falling behind 10-nothing to the Hawks, the Mavericks (23-29) quickly jumped out to an advantage against a Kings team on the second night of a back-to-back following Tuesday’s 108-101 defeat in Memphis. The Kings (19-35) would remain close, however, led by Tyreke Evans’ 10 first-quarter points. Still, behind six points apiece from 11-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki and four-time All-Star Shawn Marion, the Mavs slid into the second stanza with a 30-27 edge.
Turning to their bench, the Mavericks continued to keep a slight edge early in the second quarter as Carter and rookie Jae Crowder led the charge for the second unit. The starters then returned to the floor, taking a 43-36 advantage after Marion’s defensive board led to an outlet pass from point guard Darren Collison to leading scorer O.J. Mayo for the slam. Collison and Nowitzki then boosted the Mavs to a lead as large as 17 before heading into the locker room up 59-44 at the midway mark.
Led by 12 points apiece for Nowitzki and Collison, the Mavs jumped out to the lopsided lead through 24 minutes of play while hitting 48.9 percent from the field compared to the Kings’ 38.1 percent shooting. The Mavs also committed just two turnovers through two quarters, turning the Kings’ eight giveaways into 14 points while collecting a 27-24 rebounding edge.
“Everybody was focused from the start and that’s what we needed,” Carter said after the hot start by his team.
“The way we closed the first half was really good, because we were able to get the lead up to 15. And then third quarter we had some lapses,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle added.
With Mayo coming alive, the Mavs would maintain their large advantage as they came out of the intermission to begin the second half. Meanwhile, Kings big man DeMarcus Cousins would do his best to keep the visitors in the game with an array of moves in the interior.
Isaiah Thomas’ driving score then forced a Carlisle timeout with the Mavs up just nine, 71-62, with 5:31 left in the third. Carter would then reenter the game and recollect his team with his outside shooting, becoming just the 11th player in NBA history with at least 1,600 made 3-pointers in his illustrious career before also passing Larry Bird (21,791) for 29th place on the league's all-time scoring list.
“It’s a great feeling,” Carter said of the milestone. “I didn’t know after reading up on stuff. But at the same time, when you’re around long enough, you’re going to pass a few people if you’re scoring. … I’ve talked with Larry before, and he is a legend. And to pass one of the greatest to play the game, that’s a great feeling. I can go home feeling good.”
“It was great. Passing Larry Legend, you know he’s been around for a long time and doing it,” Nowitzki said after watching his teammate reach a milestone he himself also reached earlier in his career. “He got hot there and we needed it. They made a push there, probably made it a lot closer than we wanted it to be, and we definitely needed all of his 3s there to get a little separation back.”
And with Carter’s explosion powering the way after scoring 17 points in 6:33 of game action, the Mavericks entered the fourth period up 92-77.
“I was wishing the quarter wouldn’t end,” Carter later joked.
“We needed a lift,” Carlisle added. “And I think when the lead got cut to nine, he rose up and hit a 3 over a guy who had switched out, which was a shot that nobody else in this building could have made. So, you know, he’s still a special player.”
After Carter rained in five triples in the third period, the Mavs as a team would also catch fire from long range early in the fourth, with 3s by Crowder and Nowitzki leading to a Sacramento timeout after the home squad claimed a 100-79 lead with 10:30 left to play. Reserve guard Mike James then joined the act with a trey from the wing as the Mavs’ lead swelled to as much as 26 before Carlisle inserted his reserves to finish the night.
Clocking just less than 23 minutes of work, Carter racked up 26 points on 9-of-15 shooting and 6 of 9 from 3-point range.
“I don’t really know how to explain it. It’s just one of those things where you hit a few open opportunities. I mean, they were open shots. We were in transition and I was just getting open and shooting them. I mean, I was shooting to make them, not shooting to get attempts up. Once I hit the first two, it was on from there. I feel like I could have shot all day,” Carter said while summing up his night.
“Listen, Vince has had a tremendous year,” Carlisle added with high praise for the veteran swingman. “He’s such an important guy for us, and he’s just doing a lot of things in a lot of areas. It’s not just the shot making and play making, he’s doing a lot of things defensively and rebounding that we don’t talk much about because of some of the spectacular things that he’s doing at the other end. But him, Dirk, Marion, those guys are irreplaceable for us with the way our team is structured right now. I was glad all three of them played well and got a good run, and now they can go into the break and get a little bit of rest and do what they need to do to get ready coming out.”
Evans led five Kings in double figures with 23 points on 8-of-12 shooting, but the Mavericks finished the night hitting 46.7 percent from the field compared to the Kings’ 41.3 percent at the other end, hitting 13 of 34 from the 3-point line and collecting a 51-44 rebounding advantage in the win. Dallas also converted the Kings’ 18 turnovers into 22 points, ending the night with only 12 giveaways for 14 Sacramento points.
The Mavs will now have a one-week layoff between games, entering the All-Star break sitting six games below .500 before returning to action next Wednesday night at home against the Orlando Magic. The Mavs lead the season series between the two teams after a 111-105 win in Orlando back on Jan. 20. The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest at 7:30 p.m. CT. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling (214) 747-MAVS (6287) or by visiting Mavs.com.
“The good thing is we don’t play till Wednesday, so we’ve got basically two full days of practice in and shooting and all that stuff before we open up again at home on Wednesday. So I’m not going to touch a ball for four days and then get work in Monday and Tuesday, and I’ll be ready Wednesday,” Nowitzki said as his consecutive All-Star appearances streak comes to an end at 11 straight seasons.
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