Recap: Team effort, bench play ends Mavs' road woes in Cleveland
Earl K. Sneed reports from Cleveland and recaps the Dallas Mavericks' thrilling Saturday night showdown against the Cavaliers, as the Mavs ended a four-game road losing streak with a total team effort.
Recap: Mavericks 103 at Cavaliers 95
Team effort, bench play ends Mavs' road woes in Cleveland
CLEVELAND — On to the next one.
One night after extending their road losing streak to four following a 103-83 defeat at the hands of the Indiana Pacers, the Dallas Mavericks entered Quicken Loans Arena eager to face the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers, who themselves were on a four-game losing streak overall.
The Mavericks also tried to end their weekend back-to-back on a positive note after their most lopsided loss of the young season, hoping their fortunes Saturday night would be more rewarding than the previous 24 hours. And with a furious run to close the game, the Mavericks (6-5) would do just that, holding on late for a 103-95 win.
“I thought we played a very good game,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said of the win. “Our game plan was good and the guys stuck to it pretty well. … Guys did a great job.”
One night after welcoming back four-time All-Star Shawn Marion to the starting lineup following a five-game absence with a sprained left MCL, Carlisle stuck with the first unit of point guard Darren Collison, 2-guard O.J. Mayo, Marion, power forward Elton Brand and center Chris Kaman. But, with reigning Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving and former Texas standout Daniel Gibson raining in back-to-back 3s, the Mavs quickly found themselves down as much as nine.
Still, with sixth man Vince Carter sparking the play off the bench before back-to-back monster dunks by backup big man Bernard James and guard Dominique Jones, a 10-1 Dallas run brought the Mavs even with the Cleveland team at 24-all to end the opening period.
Back-to-back 3s by Gibson would give the Cavaliers (2-7) the upper hand as the second quarter got underway. But, with the bench continuing to give the Mavs a lift led by Dominique Jones, the visiting team stayed within an arm’s reach before a 3 by Mayo gave Dallas a 37-36 edge. And after Kaman took charge of the Dallas offense, Dominique Jones’ score to beat the halftime buzzer brought the Mavs within one, 52-51, heading into the intermission.
Led by Kaman’s 10 first-half points on 4-of-8 shooting, the Mavs’ 51.3 percent bettered the Cavaliers’ 38.3 percent through the first two quarters. But, after committing 10 turnovers in the half for 17 Cleveland points, the Mavs found themselves slightly down on the scoreboard.
After finding himself in a shootout with Cavaliers rookie Dion Waiters in the first half, Mayo went back to work early in the third period. Meanwhile, Dominique Jones reentered the game and quickly became the third Maverick in double figures.
“My owner gets an assist on that one,” Carlisle said while crediting Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. “He talked to me last night after the game and said he thought that DoJo could bring something tonight. He’s had good games in here before and he gave us a huge lift, so Mark gets an assist on that one.”
Carter then seized the opportunity with Irving in the locker room with a contused left index finger, draining back-to-back 3s to put the Mavs up 69-64 midway through the third. Still, after consecutive 3-pointers by reserves Troy Murphy and Dahntay Jones quieted a 7-0 Cleveland run, the Mavs held just a 75-73 edge heading to the final 12 minutes of play.
An exchange of 3s by Omri Casspi and Murphy opened up the final quarter with Irving back on the floor. The Dallas defense would then stiffen as Collison took control of the offense, lifting his team to a seven-point lead before Irving brought his squad right back to tie the game at 87-all with 5:07 remaining after the Mavs’ 20th turnover of the night.
But with Mayo’s corner 3 at the center of a 9-0 spurt to extend the lead back out, the Mavs created all of the distance they would need the rest of the way.
“Well, we quit doing certifiably insane things with the ball,” Carlisle joked about the run. “But that’s a juncture of our season where we had a seven-point lead, they came back and tied it and it can go either way. We can man up and stick together and do it the hard way and help each other, or the thing can go south. And the guys got it done together. Right now, we’re trying to figure out exactly who we are. We’ve just got a lot of things going on, and it’s important to pull together and make something good happen.”
“Despite Cleveland’s record, they’re still a really, really good team. They’ve got really good players on their team, and I thought it came down all the way to the wire and making the right decisions. Whoever was gonna make the right decisions was gonna win,” Collison added.
Although Irving would continue to will his team, bringing the Cavaliers to within three down the stretch, a defensive stand by Dahntay Jones on Irving’s drive led to Marion’s transition feed to Mayo to go up 101-95 with 59.7 ticks left. The Mavs then only needed clutch free throws by Collison to close out the win.
“The last five minutes we just picked it up and we played the game that we were supposed to play,” Kaman concluded. “We need to play like that the whole game and get those stops and make those plays. Tonight, we did that and we were victorious.”
“Sometimes we’ve gotta do what we’ve gotta do. We needed this win and we were able to buckle down and get some big stops when we needed to and extend that lead,” Marion added.
Leading six Mavs in double figures was Mayo’s 19 points on 5-of-9 from the field and 3-of-5 from 3. Kaman pitched in 15 points, Carter and Collison added 14 points and Dominique Jones and Marion registered 10 points apiece.
Led by Carter and Dominique Jones, the Mavs also finished the night with a 45-24 advantage in bench scoring.
“First and foremost, our bench was important tonight coming off a back-to-back to really give us some energy and we did it,” Carter simply said of the performance.
“We had a lot of guys step up from the bench. We needed everybody and this is a really big win for us,” Carlisle added.
Meanwhile, Kaman also did the job on the defensive end of the floor, tallying a season-high six blocks to go with eight rebounds.
“Kaman had a terrific all-around game. He gave us a real presence in the paint at both ends of the court,” the coach said with high praise for the 7-footer.
Irving led five Cavaliers in double figures with 26 points on 11-of-21 shooting, but was held without an assist while Waiters finished just 4-for-16 from the field for his 16 points. The Mavericks outshot the Cavaliers on the night as well, 51.4 percent to 37.5 percent. And led by Marion’s double-double with 10 boards in just over 32 minutes in his second game back, the Mavericks also claimed a 42-38 rebounding advantage to make up for the 30 points Cleveland scored off Dallas’ 22 turnovers.
The Mavs will now take Sunday off before returning to the court for the start of a three-game homestand, welcoming in the Golden State Warriors on Monday night. 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.
“We got a little bit of confidence,” Collison concluded. “This was a good team win. These are the wins that make you feel good, because we know we all did it together. And hopefully we can take that same vibe on our homestand and get a little home cooking.”