Recap: Kings 100 at Mavericks 110
Earl K. Sneed recaps the Dallas Mavericks' home win over the lowly Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night as the defending champs put the departure of Lamar Odom behind them while welcoming back point guard Jason Kidd.
Recap: Kings 100 at Mavericks 110
DALLAS — In the wake of a season-long saga chronicling career-low production from forward Lamar Odom and the subsequent parting of ways between the reigning Sixth Man of the Year and the Dallas Mavericks on Monday, coach Rick Carlisle and the defending champions returned to action Tuesday night with more pressing matters at hand.
Locked in a competitive playoff race and looking to bounce back from single-digit losses to Portland and Memphis over the weekend, the Mavericks stepped onto their home floor at the American Airlines Center looking to move forward with just nine games remaining on the regular-season schedule. The Mavs also took the court looking for a 16th straight home win over the lowly Sacramento Kings, the second-worst team in the Western Conference.
The Mavericks (32-26) would make it a 16th straight victory, putting the events of the previous day behind them and holding the Kings off for a 110-100 victory before beginning a four-game road trip.
“This is a team where we have a lot of veteran guys here, so we’ve dealt with worse,” sixth man Jason Terry said after winning despite the departure of Odom. “Just a situation where it wasn’t working out and management has decided to move on, as has the team. So, we wish him look in his future endeavors, but as far as the Dallas Mavericks, we are a team that is vying for playoff position and we’re ready to go forward.”
“Yeah, it was a good win tonight,” leading scorer Dirk Nowitzki added. “You know, I thought it was a great team effort, guys played hard and definitely need to stop the bleeding. So, it was a good game.”
With point guard Jason Kidd returning to action after missing four games due to a strained right groin, Carlisle used Tuesday night as an opportunity to change his starting line, inserting the future Hall of Famer back into the first unit next to new addition Delonte West, forward Shawn Marion, Nowitzki and center Brendan Haywood.
But the Kings would capitalize off the Mavericks’ miscues in the first quarter, taking a 27-25 edge after the opening period thanks to Dallas’ seven turnovers.
Looking for a spark off the bench, Carlisle turned to reserve Vince Carter to get on track in the second period. Then big man Yi Jianlian lent a helping hand, draining back-to-back jumpers en route to hitting his first four shots and giving the Mavs a 35-32 edge with 9:02 left in the half.
“Well, we needed it,” Carlisle of the boost from his bench. “They had good energy and put the ball in the basket. I thought Yi’s minutes were vital in the first half. We were going to look at that lineup with [Brandan] Wright and [Ian] Mahinmi, and Mahinmi got taken out of it with fouls early. [Yi] played four minutes and made four baskets and was huge for us. It energized us, kept us going. Even though we didn’t play a great first half, because we were turning it over, his hoops made a big difference for us.”
A highlight reel alley-oop connection from Terry to Wright then got the fans out of their seats, before third-year guard Rodrigue Beaubois dazzled the crowd. And with their bench leading the way, the Mavericks entered the halftime intermission with a 57-50 advantage.
With Yi and Haywood both leading the Mavericks with eight points apiece, the Mavericks overcame 33 points combined from Tyreke Evans, DeMarcus Cousins and Marcus Thornton. Meanwhile, the Kings (19-39) outshot the Mavs through two quarters, 46.8 percent to 45.8 percent, while the Mavs overcame 13 Sacramento points off their 11 turnovers with a 31-19 rebounding margin.
Haywood continued to provide the Mavs with a dominant force inside as the third quarter got underway. Then West began to look for his own shot, driving with ease in his one-on-one matchup against the smaller Isaiah Thomas. But after the Mavs stormed to a double-digit lead, Thomas and Evans closed the gap to within four.
But again Carlisle turned to his bench and again the reserves answered the call as Carter threw down a thunderous dunk over Hassan Whiteside to lift the Mavs to an 83-77 edge entering the fourth.
An aggressive Beaubois upped the lead back to double digits as the final 12 minutes ticked away. But after the lead hit as much as 13, back-to-back 3-pointers by Thornton and Jimmer Fredette trimmed Dallas’ advantage to just five.
The Mavs wouldn’t panic, however, riding West’s hot hand with Kidd resting in the final period before Marion’s tip-in forced the Kings to call timeout with the Mavs up 99-89 and 3:28 on the clock.
The duo of West and Terry did the rest, putting the finishing touches on the win with timely scores down the stretch.
Leading the way off the bench was Beaubois, who poured in 15 points on 5-of-13 shooting while matching Nowitzki for team-high scoring honors. Terry and West added 13 points each and Haywood pitched in 11 points of his own. Marion made it six Mavericks in double figures with 10 points and 14 rebounds, one board shy of his season-high.
In his return, Kidd tallied up seven points, dished out seven assists and pulled down six rebounds in just over 22 minutes.
“I feel great. My minutes were able where they should be for what we’re trying to accomplish and I didn’t have to go back in in the fourth quarter. So, it was a win-win tonight,” Kidd joked.
“He’s the leader of the pack,” Nowitzki said of Kidd’s return. “You know, when somebody comes back off of injury, you don’t really look at the basketball they played, you look at the movement. And I thought he moved well. He drive a couple of times, he had a spin move going to the cup trying to finish, he had a blocked shot, which I haven’t seen basically since he’s been here. So, his movement was great and that’s obviously very encouraging for our team.”
Meanwhile, the Mavericks’ reserves accounted for a 54-23 advantage in bench scoring.
Cousins led five Kings in double figures with 25 points and 18 rebounds. Both teams finished the night shooting 44.6 percent, but the Mavs captured a 56-40 rebounding advantage. The Mavs also scored 25 points off Sacramento’s 15 turnovers, surrendering 18 points off their own 17 giveaways.
“I think we played alright,” Marion said when summing up the performance. “We could have done a couple of things better, but they that’s a young and energetic team and they caused problems with certain matchups for us. But, you know, we were able to them away when we needed to and put them on their heels as well. We were able to sustain their little runs and make them play some defense as well. We were able to get out and run, we were able to stop them when we needed to and we definitely outrebounded them. You know, turnovers, they’re gonna come and go; it were some we definitely could have done without, but it’s part of the game. You know, they turned the ball over as well. So, it all coincides with each other and we were able to get a good win.”
The Mavericks will now begin a four-game road trip in Oakland against the Golden State Warriors on Thursday night. The Warriors lead the season series after a 111-87 home win over the defending champions on March 10. The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest and nationally on TNT at 9:30 p.m. CT.
“We’re looking to build on a night like tonight,” Carlisle said while looking ahead to the upcoming trip. “We’re looking to improve. We need to have wins. I expect that we’re going to be a together team. Each game is going to be very challenging. Every venue is tough. Every team is extremely capable. We’re going to have to bring our best.”
Note: The Mavs return to the American Airlines Center on April 18 when they play host to the Houston Rockets. The Mavs lead the season series 2-0 and will go for the sweep. That game will air locally on TXA 21 at 7:30 p.m. CT. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling (214) 747-MAVS.
Single-game tickets are on sale and available at the American Airlines Center North Box Office, online at mavs.com, via phone by calling 214-747-MAVS or 1-800-4NBA-TIX and all Ticketmaster outlets (Fiesta Grocery Stores, Wal-Mart, Simon Mall in Garland and the Shops at Willow Bend in Plano).