Recap: Mavs hold off D-Will, Nets for big road win
Recap: Mavericks 98 at Nets 90
Mavs hold off D-Will, Nets for big road win
BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Finish the job.
Two nights after a 25-point, first-half advantage ended with a 90-84 defeat in Memphis, Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle had just one message for his team: finish.
Looking to end a three-game losing streak as his team entered the Barclays Center for the first time ever against the Brooklyn Nets, Carlisle didn’t point out what went wrong in the second half Wednesday night against the Grizzlies. Instead, with an opportunity to move to 1-1 on their current road trip, the coach pointed to what his players did right while jumping out to the large advantage in the first place.
Carlisle then emphasized the importance of playing a full four quarters at a high level as the Mavs tried to turn things around before an important home-and-home series versus Houston.
“We’ve just got to keep emphasizing the importance of playing 48 minutes and not 20,” Carlisle said. “You know, we played a 20-minute game the other night. We played the first 20 minutes and then after that we had a lot of falloff. I’ve got to keep reminding the guys the things that get us leads — good defense, maintaining tempo, making simple plays without turning it over, being unselfish and finding each other. We’ll continue to stress those things. We’ll point out the negative things if we have to, but it’s really important to point out the positive things, so we’re going to do both.”
Friday night, the Mavs would again be placed in a position where they would have to finish after jumping out to a lead as large as 20 in the second half. And although the Nets (34-25) would come storming back led by The Colony native Deron Williams, the Mavericks (26-32) would find a way to close this time around, claiming a hard-fought 98-90 win to improve to 2-16 on the road this season against teams with a winning record.
Sticking with center Chris Kaman in the starting lineup for the second straight game, Carlisle would again see his team get off to a fast start. But, after leading by as much as seven in the opening period, the Mavs took just a 22-21 edge into the second stanza.
A thunderous slam by sixth man Vince Carter would give the Mavs a lift to start the second quarter while even getting Nets fans out of their seats. But the Nets would rally in front of their hometown crowd, taking a 27-26 edge after back-to-back scores by Joe Johnson to force a timeout by Carlisle with 9:09 left in the half.
Carlisle then went to 11-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki and backup big man Elton Brand, who would begin to go to work on the offensive end while putting their team on their broad shoulders. Leading scorer O.J. Mayo’s steal and transition and-one score with 9.6 seconds left in the half then took the Mavs into the intermission down just one, 49-48.
Led by Mayo’s 11 points and Nowitzki’s 10 points on a combined 9-of-16 shooting, the Mavs’ 50 percent from the field still couldn’t match the Nets’ 53.8 percent at the other end as Williams racked up 17 first-half points by hitting 6 of 11 shots. The Mavs, meanwhile, stayed in the game by forcing 11 Nets turnovers in the first two quarters, committing just six giveaways themselves.
“I thought actually in the first half we played well offensively,” Nowitzki said. “We shot over 50 percent, we were moving the ball well, we were shooting the ball, but defensively we couldn’t get the job done. They shot almost 55 percent from the floor in the first half. Deron got hot, Joe had a couple of pull-ups and [Andray] Blatche comes in off the bench and gives us 4 for 5 from the floor. And I thought we had to step it up defensively a little bit to get a lead and that’s what we did.”
Starting the second half with scores by Kaman and point guard Darren Collison, the Mavericks would quickly assume the upper hand in the third quarter. A steal by four-time All-Star Shawn Marion then led to a 3-pointer by Nowitzki as the Mavs began the third on an 11-3 run.
Carter would take things from there, coming in once again off the bench and hitting a floater in the lane before connecting on a 3 from the top of the key. Reserve guard Mike James then connected on a triple of his own from the wing as the lead surged to double figures, before Marion’s breakaway slam lifted the Mavs into the fourth up 77-63.
“Sometimes we allow our offense to dictate how well we play defensively, and that can get any team in trouble. And so, tonight, we were able to make plays offensively, but it wasn’t about our offense. It was about getting stops when we needed to,” James would later say.
Opening the fourth with back-to-back 3-pointers by rookie Jae Crowder and James, the Mavs quickly surged ahead by 20. Meanwhile, Nowitzki continued to have his way, reaching the 20-point plateau for the eighth time this season before a score inside by Brook Lopez forced a timeout by Carlisle with the Mavs up 88-73 as 6:19 remained on the clock.
Lopez’s reverse over Nowitzki then forced a timeout again by Carlisle with the visiting team nursing a 93-86 advantage with 1:46 left to close. The Nets weren’t done, creeping to within five on C.J. Watson’s drive before a 1-of-2 trip to the free throw line by Carter kept Brooklyn at bay with 48.6 seconds left.
Still, thanks to two free throws by Lopez with 37.4 ticks left, the Mavs weren’t out of the woods unscathed after Mayo also split a pair at the charity stripe with 31.8 seconds remaining.
A miss by Watson was then secured by James, who hit 1 of 2 at the line to extend the lead to six with 20.8 ticks left before Carter’s foul shots added the final padding to the Mavs’ the win.
“I think we made it a little more interesting than we wanted to again,” Nowitzki concluded. “They started hitting some 3s. I thought C.J. Watson hit two or three. D-Will had a couple of drives and one, Brook got to the basket a couple of times, and so we really couldn’t get any stops. And then they turned the pressure up a little bit defensively. They turned us over two or three times, and next thing you know it was almost a ballgame. But we hung in there and our lead was big enough. … I’m glad we got this win.”
“They’re all big, and in dropping the last three, we needed one,” Carlisle added. “We put together a solid game and we were solid enough to beat one of the better teams in the East, so that’s a good sign for us.”
Leading the way with 20 points apiece, Nowitzki and Carter combined to shoot 15 of 26 from the field. Mayo was the only other Mav in double figures with 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting.
Williams led four Nets in double figures with 24 points on 8 of 18 from the floor, but finished the game by tying a season high with seven turnovers.
The Mavs finished the night outshooting the Nets as well, 50 percent to 46.2 percent, to overcome Brooklyn’s 44-31 rebounding advantage. Dallas also scored 17 points off the Nets’ season-high 20 turnovers, allowing 20 points on their own 14 giveaways.
“I thought defensively we got stops,” Mayo explained. “We made plays down the stretch on the offensive end. When they did score, we attacked and got to the free throw line. But more than anything, on the defensive end we got stops.”
“We played a lot more good minutes than we did in Memphis for sure,” Carlisle added. “It’s hard to play a perfect 48 in this league. I’ll admit that. But we took advantage of our runs, we were able to stave them off a few times, we had some guys step up and hit some big shots … and then we made a few mistakes, too, obviously. So we’ll take it and run, and we’ve got to get ready for the next one.”
The Mavericks will now head to Houston for a pivotal home-and-home series against the Rockets, who currently sit five games up on Dallas in the Western Conference’s race for the eighth position. The Mavs will return to the practice court Saturday before their matchup against the Rockets on Sunday, entering the Toyota Center and looking to extend their nine-game winning streak over Houston.
The Mavs lead the season series 2-0. The game will air locally Sunday at 6 p.m. CT on Fox Sports Southwest.
“It’s going to be a fun, up-and-down game, but they’re tough. It’s been always fun games when we play down in Houston — a lot of high-scoring games and some overtime games over the years. And we’ve just got to go in and let it rip and play together as a team. It should be fun,” Nowitzki said while looking ahead.
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