For almost three days the Dallas Mavericks had to sit and stew and listen to the naysayers after they were totally embarrassed at home in a 33-point loss Tuesday to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
So how did the Mavericks react to the criticism?
With a lopsided 30-point victory over the Los Angeles Clippers.
Showing fruitful signs of climbing out of their recent doldrums, the Mavericks played their most complete and dominant game of the season against a quality opponent en route to overpowering the Clippers 129-99 on Friday before a boisterous sellout crowd of 20,444 at American Airlines Center.
The victory helped the Mavericks (42-25) leapfrog the San Antonio Spurs into sixth place in the Western Conference standings. Dallas moved a half game behind the fifth-place Clippers (42-24) and hopes to continue spiraling upward during the final 15 games of the season.
“We needed to make this statement and get this win for us to get on the right track and feeling good about ourselves and try and put some wins together,” said Monta Ellis, who had 14 points. “We were helping each other out, scrambling, getting defensive stops and getting out and running.
“[Rajon] Rondo did a great job of finding guys, CP [Chandler Parsons] had a heck of a game, and we were just feeding off one another. When we got out of the game, our second unit came in and picked up the slack, and so when you’ve got both units coming in playing at the same speed, it’s hard for any team to beat us. So, we’ve just got to stay on that pace.”
With seven players scoring 14 or more points, the Mavericks shot a sizzling 60.7 percent from the field — their second highest mark of the season behind the 62.2 percent against the Los Angeles Lakers on Nov. 21.
Overall, the Mavericks have 12 wins by 20 or more points this season. And this is the worst whipping they’ve handed a Western Conference playoff contender all season.
“I think everyone was disappointed after the last home game,” said Tyson Chandler, who collected 14 points and 12 rebounds in registering his 27th double-double of the season. “We showed them on the court how good we can be, when things are executed the right way.”
Parsons scored 14 of his game-high 22 points in the first half when the Mavericks led 59-51. Then, with the Clippers within 80-74, the Mavericks erupted for a 35-9 run and bolted ahead 115-83 midway through the fourth quarter, thanks to 19 points off the bench from Charlie Villanueva.
“Well, we were due,” said coach Rick Carlisle, who moved past Dick Motta and into sole possession of second place for wins by a Mavericks coach with 330. “We were due to play better, we were due to compete better and compete better as a group.”
The Mavericks beat the Clippers in all phases of the game. In addition to converting 16 of 28 shots from 3-point range, Dallas also won the rebounding battle 43-32, and got 61 points from its bench.
The Mavericks bottled up Chris Paul, holding him to only 11 points and seven assists after he entered the game with eight double-doubles over an 11-game stretch.
“I give a lot of credit to Rondo tonight,” Carlisle said. “He just kept finding the right people. His play calls were on point, and he had a presence out there defensively that we really needed in this game with Chris Paul out there.”
The final outcome was certainly a confidence-booster for the Mavericks.
“Offensively, that’s probably as good as it probably has been in a long, long time,” Dirk Nowitzki said. “I just thought overall we had great energy in the game.”
Dwain Price, 817-390-7760