Recap: Marion sparks Mavs vs. road-weary Warriors
Recap: Warriors 91 at Mavericks 116
Marion sparks Mavs vs. road-weary Warriors
DALLAS — Although it’s the craze sweeping Mavs Nation, Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle slowly pumped the breaks on crediting the team’s no-shave pledge for a mid-season turnaround heading into Saturday night’s showdown against the Golden State Warriors.
Three days after his players made a pact not to shave until the team’s record is back to an even .500, Carlisle credited the solidarity of the squad while coming together for Wednesday’s 105-99 win over Portland to begin a five-game homestand. And it was that collective effort, not the scruffiness of the Mavs’ faces, that Carlisle hoped would carry his team to a win over the Warriors after two losses earlier in the season by a combined seven points.
“The beards are great, but growing a beard is not going to make you play well. Growing a beard and everybody doing it and everybody playing hard and being there for each other in games and making a commitment to play hard and keep things simple, that’s what creates success,” Carlisle explained. “And I think the guys understand that. … It’s just not as simple as growing beards and playing well. That’s not how this is going to work. But I am in favor of it.”
The coach was then in favor of a second straight win as the Mavericks (22-28) avoided the first season series sweep at the hands of the Warriors (30-21) since the 2006-07 campaign, moving to 2-0 on their homestand after a 116-91 victory while sending Golden State home with a winless four-game road trip.
Looking to build off the momentum of Wednesday night’s win while also jumping out to a quick start against a Warriors team on the second night of a back-to-back to conclude a stretch of four games in five nights, the Mavs right away went to power forward Dirk Nowitzki on the offensive end after he missed the first two meetings against Golden State due to injury. But the 11-time All-Star would begin the night missing his first six shots from the field, before the young Dallas backcourt of leading scorer O.J. Mayo and Darren Collison took charge of the offensive duties while sparking a 14-0 run.
Collison’s 13 first-quarter points on 4-for-4 shooting and 2-of-2 from 3-point range then lifted the Mavs into the second stanza with a 30-16 advantage.
“I think everybody was upset about [last Thursday night's game],” Collison said while looking back to a 100-97 defeat in Oakland, “so we put it in our minds that we were going to play. And if we were going to come out on top, we had to go from the first five minutes. And I thought we played solid basketball for the first five minutes.”
Forcing a third foul of the night on All-Star big man David Lee with 10:26 left in the first half, the Mavs quickly took away the Warriors’ inside presence in the second period. Nowitzki then shook off his early struggles while the margin on the scoreboard continued to balloon, swishing in a 3 from the top of the key before an and-one jumper over Draymond Green to push the lead to 22. The lead then surged to 27 before the Mavs entered the halftime intermission with a 62-36 advantage, holding the Warriors to the lowest-scoring first half by a Dallas opponent this season.
Led by Collison’s 13 points on 4-of-6 shooting, the Mavs’ 51.2 percent from the field bettered the Warriors’ 30.4 percent at the other end of the floor. The Mavs also connected on 6-of-11 from 3-point range while committing just two turnovers at the midway mark, sprinting to a 17-0 advantage in fast-break points.
“We understood that they were four games in five nights and came off a tough game last night in Memphis, so we just wanted to keep up the pace offensively and just get into them defensively and make them work for everything,” Mayo said of the game plan. “They like to score a lot, get out in open court, get some easy ones, and we wanted to cut that down, force them to play a half-court, defensive game. And once we got stops, we pushed and tried to get some easy transition baskets.”
With Mayo and four-time All-Star Shawn Marion sparking the offense in the third quarter, the Mavs continued to keep the Warriors at a safe distance despite the best efforts of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. Marion then took matters into his own hands, scoring at will as the Mavs took an 85-66 lead into the fourth.
Starting the final 12 minutes of play with an and-one by Carl Landry before a 3-pointer by Curry to climb to within 13, the Warriors refused to go away quietly. Nowitzki then continued his journey through league lore, passing Wilt Chamberlain (6,057) for 15th place on the NBA’s all-time free throws made list. Mayo then soon took back control of the game after getting fouled by Green on a 3 attempt, sinking all three free throws before feeding Marion on a breakaway score to go up 96-76 with 8:32 left to play.
Carlisle then pulled his main contributors with the score at 109-83 with 4:49 on the clock.
“We were able to sustain it,” Marion said. “We knew they were going to make a run. You know, we went on a drought there for a little bit, but we were able to sustain it and push it back to 20. We knew it was coming, but it was over with for them once we made that late push. They made a push at us, and once we made that push back at them, it was over with.”
Leading the way with a double-double after a season-high 26 points on 11-of-16 shooting, Marion also tied backup big man Elton Brand after collecting 11 rebounds.
“I was just being aggressive and letting the game come to me, taking a lot of opportunities out there,” a modest Marion said while summing up his night.
“I was being aggressive but it was coming to me,” he added. “The ball was finding me. A lot of times, when you initiate the offense in this system, sometimes at the end of it you’re going to be reciprocated. I was initiating a lot of stuff and I was able to get out and push the tempo a little bit myself when I was able to get rebounds and just open up the game for us.”
Mayo added 19 points on 6-of-13 shooting to go with nine assists while his backcourt mate, Collison, pitched in 18 points and eight assists. Despite shooting just 3-of-12 from the field, Nowitzki registered 15 points in the first unit. Meanwhile, Brand also tallied up a double-double with 11 points off the bench.
“All of them I thought played well,” Nowitzki said of his teammates. “‘Trix [Marion] had a phenomenal game on both ends of the floor, as he always does, and on the boards. Collison was shooting the ball well. Mayo had some big threes. E.B. [Brand], I thought, played some solid defense on Carl Landry, who’s a really good low-post player. So I think everybody played well.”
Curry finished with 18 points, seven rebounds and four assists to lead five Warriors in double figures, but had just an 8-of-23 shooting night. The Mavs also finished the night outshooting the Warriors as a team, 49.4 percent to 38.2 percent, hitting 11-of-20 from behind the 3-point arc to make up for losing a 52-44 rebounding battle.
The Mavs collected 27 points off Golden State’s 16 turnovers as well, allowing only 10 points on their 10 giveaways at the other end.
Note: The Mavericks will now take Sunday off before returning to action to continue their five-game homestand against the Atlanta Hawks on Monday night. The two teams haven’t met this regular season. 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.
Mavs Fans: Are you hopping on the beard bandwagon? Show your support and make your pledge today!