CLEVELAND – Gal Mekel took another giant step Friday night towards locking up a spot on the Dallas Mavericks’ final 15-man roster.
Mekel entered the game against Cleveland for the first time with just 4:21 remaining and the Mavs clinching to a 97-92 lead. But he quickly imposed his will on a game the Mavs captured, 108-102, at Quicken Loans Arena.
"Gal Mekel is playing terrific,’’ coach Rick Carlisle said. "He did a really terrific job in the fourth quarter of the (Indiana) Pacers’ game last week.
"We had a couple of guys dinged up (Friday) and he came in there and made two assists and hit a big three and basically put the game away.’’
Mekel fired a pass which Brandan Wright scored, was fouled and completed a 3-point play to give Dallas a 102-94 lead. Then, after the Cavs crawled within three points, Mekel buried a 3-pointer with the shot clock running down which pushed Dallas ahead, 105-99, with 54.9 seconds left.
An assist from Mekel to Wright via an alley-oop dunk provided the Mavs with a 107-102 lead and virtually put the game away with 27.5 ticks to go.
So how was Mekel able to be so effective while entering a game stone-cold after sitting the entire night?
"That’s my job to be ready and come into the game and play well, and I’m happy I did it tonight,’’ the second-year point guard said. "It’s not easy, but that’s part of the job.
"I’m trying to get myself ready physically and mentally even when I’m sitting for a long time, and I’m happy I was able to do that.’’
Mekel finished with three points and two assists during his brief time on the court. In other words, he made the most of his opportunity while showing a lot of poise under pressure.
"He’s showing a lot of moxie out there,’’ Carlisle said. "He made a couple of plays at the very end of the shot clock – they were critical plays -- so I’ve been impressed with him.’’