O.J. Mayo, Mavericks keep firing in another blowout win

DALLAS -- O.J. Mayo celebrated his birthday with a bang.

Mayo, who turned 25 Monday, poured in a game-high 32 points and the Dallas Mavericks used a blistering surge in the fourth quarter to blow the candles out on the Portland Trail Blazers 114-91 at American Airlines Center.

In registering their second consecutive blowout victory, the Mavs increased their record to 3-1, while the Blazers dropped to 2-2. Dallas shot a scorching 61.5 percent from the field one game after shooting 61.3 percent in Saturday's 126-99 victory against Charlotte.

The Mavericks were clinging to only a 83-79 lead entering the fourth period and then outscored the Blazers 31-12 to win going away.

Mayo made 12 of 18 shots, including 6 of 8 from 3-point range. This came after he was 7 of 10 from downtown against Charlotte.

While he is appreciative of the shooting touch by Mayo, coach Rick Carlisle doesn't particularly want him strictly living on the 3-point island.

"He's just got to play within the system and when the shots are there, step into them," Carlisle said before the game. "I don't want anybody to feel like they've got to go out and score a certain number.

"That's dangerous territory to be in. You take your mind off other aspects of playing that are important to our system."

Mayo scored 16 of his points in the first half, which ended with the Mavericks nursing a 57-55 lead. Then he lit it up in the third quarter when he hit a trio of 3-pointers to help Dallas ease into the fourth period with its slim lead.

"O.J., he's a scorer," Carlisle said. "That's his mentality.

"We just need him to play his game, but we also need him to fill a role within our system defensively and on the boards and all that kind of stuff, too."

Mayo's backcourt mate, Darren Collison, also was on top of his game again. After 18 points and 10 rebounds Saturday, Collison registered another double-double -- 14 points and 13 assists against the Blazers.

Overall, the Mavericks buried Portland by converting 10 of 20 3-pointers. That came one game after they were 16 of 25 on 3-pointers against Charlotte.

"We're going to shoot 3s, for sure," Carlisle said. "[But] 51 percent, we're not going to maintain that clip.

"What we want to do is we want to be systematic with how we approach the 3s. We don't want to be thinking about it; we want the shots to come at the right time in the game's context."

Let's not forget, the Mavericks are doing all of this damage without their superstar, Dirk Nowitzki, who underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Oct. 19.

"These guys recognize that they've got to play without Dirk and be the best team we can be without Dirk," Mavs owner Mark Cuban said. "There's no one in the locker room who doesn't truly believe we can be a great team without Dirk.

"And then when we get him, it's just gravy."

Dominique Jones gave the Mavericks some "gravy" when he came off the bench to play a pivotal role while the game was still there for the taking. Jones had a steal and a subsequent basket, fed Chris Kaman (16 points) for a basket, scored on a floater in the lane, and fed Brandan Wright for a basket as he was responsible for eight consecutive points that helped Dallas pull ahead 97-87.

Portland coach Terry Stotts, who was a Mavericks assistant the previous four seasons, said it's been a challenge for Carlisle to work in nine new players this season; especially with Nowitzki out for six weeks.

"Actually, Dirk being out, I wish him well, and it's tough," Stotts said. "But it really gives the new guys a chance to play together and get to know each other and establish a rhythm.

"And then when Dirk comes back, they'll be even better."

Particularly if Mayo continues shooting like he's been shooting the past two games.

Dwain Price, 817-390-7760

Related stories from Fort Worth Star Telegram