Give Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle credit for admitting that his team has made some big-time hay on this homestand by beating up on a bushel of lottery-bound teams.
Yet another lottery-bound team bit the dust Tuesday as the Mavs made the Orlando Magic disappear into the night, winning 121-108 before a sellout crowd of 19,564 at American Airlines Center. The victory ran the Mavs’ record to 33-28 overall and 4-1 on this season-high six-game homestand that ends Thursday against the Sacramento Kings.
While showing off their shooting skills again, the Mavs hit a season-high 55.8 percent from the field and distributed 27 assists in a solid offensive display. So solid were the Mavs that the 69 points in the first half were the most they’ve scored in any half this season.
“We were moving the ball, we were passing it and driving it until we got a good shot, and we were tough,” said J.J. Barea, who tallied 17 points in 22 minutes off the bench. “I think everybody was aggressive, and we’ve got to keep it rolling.”
The Mavs fell behind 22-12 with 5:09 remaining in the first quarter, but then they reached for the calculator and piled up point after point until they have now registered their top four scoring outputs of the season on this homestand.
We were moving the ball, we were passing it and driving it until we got a good shot, and we were tough. I think everybody was aggressive, and we’ve got to keep it rolling.
Mavericks guard J.J. Barea
“We’re moving it well, we’re playing unselfishly and our shot-making has been good,” Carlisle said. “It’s not because of our great rebounding, I can tell you that.
“And that’s an area we just got to continue to harp on, for lack of a term to sugarcoat it.”
There was nothing to sugarcoat about the way the Mavs started the second half after leading by eight at halftime. Dallas opened the third quarter on a 13-0 run as Orlando missed its first eight shots and went scoreless on its initial 11 possessions.
That dominant performance, led by the shooting of Wesley Matthews, enabled the Mavs to break out to an 82-63 lead with 6:15 left in the third period.
The Mavericks have registered their top four scoring outputs of the seaosn during their four-game homestand that concludes Thursday against the Kings.
“The beginning of the second half was the key to the game,” Carlisle said. “We held them from scoring for about five minutes and that gave us a bit of a cushion and some traction, and then we were able to finish it.”
Matthews led the Mavs with 21 points on 8-of-12 shots, Dirk Nowitzki popped in 19 points and Chandler Parsons scored 17. Also, Zaza Pachulia (13 points, 10 boards) notched his 24th double-double of the season.
A late 3-pointer by Barea increased the Mavs’ lead to 96-81 entering the fourth quarter. Barea later sank another 3-pointer and two-point basket as the Mavs led 111-95 with 7:08 remaining in the game.
“Everybody is being aggressive,” Barea said of the Mavs. “The defense is getting better, so that makes us better on offense.”
The beginning of the second half was the key to the game. We held them from scoring for about five minutes and that gave us a bit of a cushion and some traction, and then we were able to finish it.
Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle
Things ran so smooth that Carlisle forgave the Mavs for falling in that early 10-point hole.
“I didn’t think it was that we weren’t playing hard or anything like that,” Carlisle said. “I thought they got off to a fast start.”
The Mavs, who led 35-27 after the first quarter, hope to keep up the momentum and stretch their winning streak to four games when the Kings come to town Thursday.
“We just have to stay positive,” said. “We have to keep showing our guys what we need them to do with short videos.”
Especially against a Kings team that’s on the border of being a lottery-bound squad.
Kings at Mavericks
7:30 p.m. Thursday, FSSW