Recap: Mavs notch back-to-back wins after routing Grizzlies
Recap: Grizzlies 83 at Mavericks 104
Mavs notch back-to-back wins after routing Grizzlies
Saturday night, Cuban made it clear that despite recent speculation over Nowitzki’s future in Dallas the latter will not change.
Amid reports and rumors that Cuban would consider trading the Mavs’ franchise player with the team nine games below .500 entering the night, the owner made it clear that through good and bad times Nowitzki will continue to be by his side. And with hope of a turnaround to the season, Cuban set the record straight before the Mavs began a four-game homestand against the Memphis Grizzlies.
“I said (to Dirk) we’re in this through thick and thin, and so there’s no way that I would trade him no matter what,” Cuban said while describing a candid text message conversation between the two.
He added: “There’s nobody that hurts more (while losing) than Dirk and there’s nobody that’s a bigger warrior, and that’s why I won’t ever trade him.”
Cuban then took his customary courtside seat as Nowitzki and the Mavericks (15-23) seized a second straight victory for the first time since a three-game winning streak from Dec. 6-10, building off a come-from-behind overtime win Thursday in Sacramento by claiming a 104-83 blowout rout on their home floor.
“This was definitely a good one to get and build on the momentum we got in Sacramento with a win we had to fight all the way down to the last second,” Nowitzki said after the win. “And hopefully we can build on that. I said we played more to lose than to win in Sac, and hopefully that win gave us some confidence and we can build on it.”
Attempting to avenge a 92-82 loss in Memphis back on Dec. 21 and welcoming in a Grizzlies team that was on a four-game winning streak and on the second night of a back-to-back after a 101-98 overtime home win against San Antonio, the Mavericks aggressively looked to get off to a fast start. Meanwhile, leading scorer O.J. Mayo opened up the night with a jumper after a 3-of-11 shooting night against his former team last month.
But the Mavs would find themselves in a 9-4 hole to start, before an attacking Darren Collison put the home team in front 16-14 with a driving and-one score. Collison’s 3-pointer from the wing then gave the Mavs a little breathing room. And with the young point guard and veteran Shawn Marion leading the way, the Mavericks took a 25-18 advantage into the second stanza.
Behind the play of their reserves, the Mavs upped their advantage to double figures in the early stage of the second quarter. Marion then reentered the game and continued his offensive attack with an array of shots from the inside and on the perimeter, before Nowitzki awakened with vintage jumpers to pad the separation on the scoreboard.
And with the Dallas defense holding the Grizzlies to the lowest-scoring first-half output by an opponent this season, the Mavs entered into the halftime intermission with a 54-39 margin under their belt.
Outshooting the Grizzlies (24-11) in the half, 52.8 percent to 32.6 percent, the Mavericks also connected on 6-of-8 from behind the 3-point arc while holding a 24-20 rebounding edge. Meanwhile, the duo of Marion and Nowitzki combined for 23 points on 8-of-12 shooting in the first 24 minutes of action.
“It felt good. We came with the energy tonight on both ends of the floor and then we were able to capitalize on it,” Marion said.
Going inside to center Chris Kaman early and often as the second half got underway, the Mavericks quickly jumped out to a 20-point lead while continuing their domination of the Southwest Division opponent. Marion also continued to score with ease, while Collison quickened the pace. And after back-to-back 3-pointers by eight-time All-Star Vince Carter and Mayo gave the Mavericks their largest lead of the season at 30, the Mavs escaped into the final quarter with an 88-62 lead.
With the game no longer in doubt, Mavs fans got their first look at new addition Mike James as the 37-year-old veteran saw his first action in front of the hometown crowd. The reserves then put the game away, upping the lead to as much as 34 before the final buzzer sounded to close the team’s fourth 20-plus point win of the season.
Scoring a season-high 20 points, Marion led the way as the high-point man while the Mavericks finished with six players in double figures.
“We got a good win against a good team and that’s all that matters. Individual statistics doesn’t matter. Right now, we’re trying to get them W’s,” Marion said after hitting 9-of-13 from the field and 2-for-3 from 3-point range.
He added: “Hopefully it’s a good start. You know, we just came off this road trip, didn’t do too well and we went 1-2. But we’ve got a two-game winning streak right now. We’re trying to take these little baby steps and start crawling to these W’s.”
Nowitzki added 17 points, while Kaman registered 14 points, Mayo pitched in 11 points and Collison made it all five starters in double figures with 10 points to go along with six assists and four steals at the point. Elton Brand, meanwhile, added 10 points and nine rebounds off the bench.
Rudy Gay led three Grizzlies in double figures with 12 points, respectively. But the Mavericks finished the night outshooting the Grizzlies, 48.8 percent to 38.1 percent, connecting on 11-for-17 from behind the 3-point arc. Dallas also collected a 48-41 rebounding margin and a 40-30 advantage in points in the paint, in addition to just nine turnovers for six Memphis points.
“The fact that we kept turnovers down was really important,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. “Our energy for most of the game was good. It was clear that they were lacking some energy from their game last night — overtime, emotional, all of those things. We needed to take advantage of it and we did. It’s the kind of game we need. We need more of these but they’re hard to come by.”
“Obviously Memphis had a tough one last night. They had an emotional win over a great team. They looked a step slow and I thought we really from the beginning set a good tone and gave them nothing easy. I thought we really fought them on the block and tried to make everything hard, so it was a good game for us but they were a little bit tired. And now we move on,” Nowitzki concluded.
Note: The Mavericks return to action at the American Airlines Center for the second outing of a four-game homestand Monday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Timberwolves lead the season series 2-0 after two games at home. The game will air locally at 7:30 p.m. CT on Fox Sports Southwest. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling (214) 747-MAVS (6287) or by visiting Mavs.com.
“For where we are right now, gutting out the game in Sacramento was really important for us. Being able to come home and start off this homestand the right way is really important for us,” Carlisle said. “We take nothing for granted. This whole season has been work. It’s been challenging and it’s going to continue to be that, but we’re showing some signs of coming together in some different ways and we’ve just got to continue.”