GameDay Blog: Wolves at Mavericks - Jan. 14, 2013

Mark Remme
Wolves Editor/Writer

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Final: That's a wrap here in Dallas. The Wolves make it a game with about three minutes left in the fourth, but Dallas pulls away late and will win this one 113-98. It's Dallas' first win in three tries against the Wolves this season. Barea leads the team with 21 points, while Pek has 20 and Cunningham has 12. For the Mavs, which shot 60 percent from the field tonight, Collison had 23 points, Brand and Mayo each had 20, and Jones, Kaman and Nowitzki each had 10. Stay tuned to for updates, analysis, photos and highlights throughout the night. DAL 113, MIN 98

Q4 3:14: We've got a game. Minnesota is playing its best fourth quarter of the road trip, and they've trimmed a once 23-point lead down to eight with just over three minutes left. It was seven, but the refs reviewed Rubio's first 3-pointer of the year and ruled his foot was on the line. Barea just drained a pull-up 3-pointer that cut it down to 101-93. Dallas will have the ball, but for the first time tonight the Wolves are getting some defensive stops. This one could become interesting down the stretch. DAL 101, MIN 93

Q4 7:15: After Dallas took a 23-point lead, the Wolves started whittling away and they've got it down to 13 with the ball at the 7:15 mark here in the third. If they cut it to 10 here or in the next couple possessions, there is more than enough time to make a comeback bid. The key is keeping Dallas from regaining its offensive touch. The Mavs were shooting 63 percent just moments ago, but they've gone cold from the floor over the last four minutes. DAL 95, MIN 82

Q4 8:34: Minnesota keeps battling here, but it's not getting any easier here as the Mavericks keep trading baskets with just under nine left in this one. One area where the Wolves could pick it up is from the foul line. They're 15-of-22 tonight from the stripe, and they haven't been able to take full advantage of their trips to the line. DAL 95, MIN 78

End Q3: That was a tough quarter for the Timberwolves, who entered down 10 but leave trailing by 21. It's going to be a tough road back in this one, particularly because of the Mavs' 62.3 percent shooting percentage. They're owning a 27-4 fast break points advantage, and they've gotten 17 from Mayo, 16 from Collison and Brand, and 10 from Kaman and Nowitzki. For the Wolves, Pek has 14, Barea has 13 and AK and DC each have 10. DAL 91, MIN 70

Q3 2:52: Things just aren't going the Wolves' way here in the third quarter. First, the Wolves' bench is called for a technical for arguing a call. Then, Alexey Shved buried a 3-pointer but was called for the offensive foul for kicking his leg out. After the whistle, which could've been a 4-point play, Dallas scored five quick points and now has an 83-67 lead with 2:51 to play in the quarter. DAL 83, MIN 67

Q3 5:49: Timberwolves and Mavs trading baskets here in the beginning of the second half, with Minnesota trimming its halftime deficit by a point midway through the third. Which is fine, but let's see if the Wolves can piece together a run here momentarily. They've got to find a way to keep Dallas out of the fast break. The Mavs hold a 20-4 advantage in transition tonight, and they've capitalized on eight Wolves turnovers. Starting five remains on the court for the Wolves midway through the third. DAL 72, MIN 63

Halftime: At the half, the Wolves are trailing by 10 after Pekovic missed a pair of free throws with 2.9 on the clock that could have cut the lead into single digits. Good second quarter overall for the Wolves, but Dallas made a run late and extended the lead back up to 55-45. J.J. Barea is leading the team with 11 points so far and is shooting 3-of-4 from behind the arc. Pek has nine points and six rebounds, and Kirilenko has eight points. For the Mavs, Elton Brand has 12 points off the bench. Rick Carlisle said in pregame tonight that he think Brand has really found some comfort in his role with the Mavs as of late. It wasn't easy for him to adjust to coming off the bench. But he's shooting 6-of-7 tonight and looks awfully comfortable in his role right now.

On a side note, I'm seeing the Peter Rabbit street drummer halftime routine for the second time this week. Very talented drummer on the five-gallon pails. DAL 55, MIN 45

Q2 2:31: I think the coolest thing I've seen so far in an NBA arena was just moments ago when the Mavs put a Super Mario Bros. video together. Mario just went through Level 1 of the original Nintendo game, zapping turtles and gumbas affiliated with NBA teams with basketball fire balls, and in the end he dunks over Bowser (holding the Larry O'Brien Trophy) on the flag pole. As the fireworks go off, "Lets Go Mavs" displays in the sky. Awesome video by the people at AAC. DAL 51, MIN 43

Q2 5:48: J.J. Barea continues to lead the way tonight for the Wolves. He just connected on his third 3-pointer of the night here in Dallas, and he's got 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting after starting out 3-of-3 from behind the arc. He's also got three assists tonight after finding Derrick Williams for the reverse lay-up moments ago. That cut the Mavericks' lead to 39-36. Minnesota is 7-of-12 here in the second quarter tonight and is leading 17-13 in the frame. DAL 39, MIN 36

Q2 8:51: Nice response for the Timberwolves after trailing by as many as 11 early in this one. They've cut it to three thanks to Barea's spark off the bench. With Pekovic resting, Barea has picked up the offensive punch and has been doing it from 3-point range and driving to the hoop. Coach Rick Carlisle said a few weeks ago that Barea is one of the best in the league at penetrating the lane, and he's showing that ability tonight. DAL 32, MIN 29

Q2 10:28: The Mavs fans have been awfully receptive to Barea so far tonight, but he just came out and drained a 3-pointer on one end and then drew a charge on the other. He just hit another 3-pointer to pull the Wolves to within 5. I'm wondering at what point the fans might get a little tired of Barea's strong play. DAL 32, MIN 27

End Q1: We're through 1 here in Dallas, and Nikola Pekovic has been a key offensively for the Wolves early in this one. He's got seven points and six assists tonight so far on 3-of-4 shooting. Andrei Kirilenko has six points, and Shved, Ridnour and Cunningham each have two. No bench points so far for the Wolves, but Barea entered the game with two minutes left in the first and picked up two quick assists. The Wolves need to control the paint like they did in the second half of the first--they've scored the last eight points in the paint in this game. Meanwhile, they've got to stop the fast break as Dallas owns a 10-2 advantage in that area. Minnesota has a 6-0 edge in second chance points tonight. DAL 26, MIN 19

Q1 1:51: The Mavs continue their strong start from the field thanks to eight early points from Darren Collison and six more for Elton Brand off the bench. They opened up an 11 point lead before Nikola Pekovic just scored to cut it to 24-15. Meanwhile, J.J. Barea just got a nice reception from the Dallas fans as he made his first appearance in the back court for the Wolves. He checks in alongside Derrick Williams, joining Rubio, Kirilenko and Pek on the floor. DAL 24, MIN 15

Q1 5:07: This road trip has been full of strong starts and tough finishes for the Timberwolves, and they're 0-3 heading into tonight. Perhaps they'll reverse it here in Dallas, and after the first seven minutes that would include a much slower start than they've had throughout the first three games of this trip. Minnesota is trailing 16-7 here with 5:07 to play in the first and they're shooting 3-of-12 right from the start. Dallas is shooting 7-of-14 here at AAC, and they've got a 10-2 points in the paint advantage early on. DAL 16, MIN 7

PG-Luke Ridnour, SG-Alexey Shved, SF-Andrei Kirilenko, PF-Dante Cunningham, C-Pekovic

Mavericks: PG-Darren Collison, SG-O.J. Mayo, SF-Shawn Marion, PF-Dirk Nowitzki, C-Chris Kaman

Pregame 7:00 PM: Wolves coach Terry Porter spent the first 10 years of his career with the Portland Trail Blazers before leaving for Minnesota before the 1994-95 season, and when he came back to play in Portland for the first time as an opponent it was a special moment for him.

The Blazers had moved into a new building, erasing the nostalgia of the venue itself, but the people, the colors and the memories were still there.

Tonight, Wolves guard J.J. Barea will get his first chance to feel all of the above. For the first time since leaving Dallas after the 2010-11 season, Barea will play against the Mavericks at American Airlines Center when the two teams tip off at 7:30 p.m. on Fox Sports North and 830 WCCO-AM.

It’s a memorable location for Barea, who helped the Mavs to 50-plus wins in each of his five season in Dallas as well as earning a 2010-11 NBA championship ring.

Tonight is the first game he’s played at AAC since Game 5 of the 2011 NBA Finals—a 112-103 win over the Miami Heat that gave Dallas a 3-2 series lead. No question, the Mavericks and their fans have mutual appreciation for Barea. Their on-court host made a point to mention his return and shared admiration for Barea during his pregame routine with the fans.

“This is where everything started for me,” said Barea, who blocked off about 15 seats for tonight’s game for family and friends still in the area. “I have a special place in my heart for this place, and it’s good to be back.

It’s not his first time back all together; Barea was injured when the Wolves visited for one game last season, and he returned in street clothes to accept his NBA championship ring with the rest of the Mavs.

This time around, he’s in uniform and moments ago he took the court for the first time in Minnesota gear for warm-ups.

In his last game at AAC, Barea put up 17 points on 6-of-11 shooting, connected on 4-of-5 shooting from 3-point range and added five assists. Five of his seven double-digit scoring performances in the 2010-11 playoffs came in Dallas.

Since then, the Mavs have re-vamped their lineup and essentially two regulars—Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion—are still on the roster from that championship team. Barea said he was a little surprised just how much they’ve changed things up in just a year and a half.

“I knew they were trying to go a different way, but I’m surprised that they went this way,” Barea said. “It changed completely a lot.”

Porter said Barea is always pumped to play, but he might have a little extra excitement for this one tonight.

“It’s still a special place for him obviously, so I’m sure he likes coming back to this building,” Porter said. “It brings a lot of fond memories, and he wants to play well when he comes back.”

Pregame 4:10 PM: Welcome to the American Airlines Center, where the Timberwolves will wrap up their final game of a four-game road trip here in Dallas. They’re currently 0-3 on this trip, and pulling out a victory against the Maverick, currently 15-23 on the season, would go a long way toward rejuvenating this group heading back for two tough home games against the Clippers and Rockets to end the week. But it won’t be easy—the Mavs are above .500 at home and are on a two-game winning streak. They just defeated the Memphis Grizzlies at AAC 104-83.

A few notes early on this afternoon before tonight’s game. For one, tonight is a late start. If you’re watching tonight’s game, be sure to tune in for tipoff at 7:30 p.m. here in Dallas on Fox Sports North and 830 WCCO-AM.

Second, earlier today the Wolves announced that Kevin Love will undergo surgery tomorrow in New York to repair the third and fourth metacarpal on his right hand. He’s still expected to miss 8-10 weeks.

Lastly, tonight will be the first game for J.J. Barea back at American Airlines Center since Game 5 of the 2011 NBA Finals against the Miami Heat. More to come on this story as we get a chance talk with Barea about his return to Dallas—where he spent the first five years of his career and earned an NBA championship. Obviously a special place for Barea thanks to all the success he and the Mavs had here. They averaged 56 wins per season over five years while he was in Big D.

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