The Dallas Mavericks were able to accomplish something Monday night that they had only accomplished one other time this season.
They won a game where they scored fewer than 100 points. That game against the Brooklyn Nets went into overtime — and the Mavs still failed to reach the 100-point barrier.
It was the type of slow-motion, non-artistic game usually reserved for the playoffs — or for teams on the second night of a back-to-back, which both the Mavs and Nets were on.
“This was a grind-out game,” forward Chandler Parsons said. “If you watched the whole game, we had no business winning this game.
“But that’s the sign of a mature team, a team that’s growing and a team that’s getting better. That’s a lot of resiliency we showed [Monday].”
The only other time this season that the Mavs won a game when scoring fewer than 100 points occurred in point guard Rajon Rondo’s debut with Dallas, when the Mavs defeated the short-handed San Antonio Spurs 99-93.
Now 2-4 when scoring under 100 points, the Mavs (26-10) hope to return to their high energy form Wednesday night at 7:30 against the Detroit Pistons at American Airlines Center.
Dirk Nowitzki scored 15 points in the victory over the Nets and zoomed past Moses Malone to become the No. 7 all-time leading scorer in NBA history.
While the Mavs lead the league in scoring at 109.5 points per game, Nowitzki came away more impressed with how the Mavs overcame fatigue and put up a strong defensive front against Brooklyn.
“We know we can score,” Nowitzki said. “On nights like [Monday], it’s good to see we can grind it out. I think overall it was a good defensive effort from us.”
Dirk having fun
Nowitzki had just three words about the state of basketball for the franchise that calls the American Airlines Center home.
“It’s fun again,” the 12-time All-Star said.
Fun again because the Mavs are among the league’s elite teams and have a serious shot at making this another special season.
After winning the NBA title in 2011, the Mavs shred their roster and finished the lockout-shortened season with a 36-30 record. They were then swept by Oklahoma City in the first round of the playoffs.
Two years ago, the Mavs posted a 41-41 record and had their playoff streak snapped at 12 seasons in a row.
And last year, the Mavs manufactured a 49-33 record and then lost to the eventual world champion San Antonio Spurs in seven games in the opening round of the playoffs.
But with the Mavs revamping their roster this past off-season — in addition to adding Rondo last month — they’ve made it more equipped to win an NBA championship. And that makes things fun for Nowitzki.
“We had a couple of down years,” Nowitzki said. “After the championship, I was seeing [management] let some of our guys go. We had a couple of down years; we didn’t make the playoffs that one year.
“To me, it’s more important as of right now that we’re a good team and winning and competing every night. It’s fun again.”
Nowitzki is humbled that he’s now the No. 7 all-time leading scorer in NBA history. But what he still wants to accomplish before he retires has absolutely nothing to do with individual achievements.
“Honestly, I’m still chasing and competing every night and playing with a great team,” Nowitzki said.
“I felt like this year it’s been all about competing and winning games.”
Dwain Price, 817-390-7760
NBA all-time leading scorers