Dallas Mavericks guard J. J. Barea was named the NBA’s Western Conference player of the week on Monday.
It’s the first time in his career that Barea has received the honor. It was also the first time a Maverick won the award since Monta Ellis received it on April 13, 2014.
While leading the Mavericks to a 4-0 record this past week, Barea averaged 23.5 points and 6.8 assists and shot 52.1 percent from the field (38-of-73) and 48 percent from 3-point land (12-of-25). On top of that, Barea had a daughter born last Thursday in Plano.
"It was certainly an awesome week, man, that was awesome,’’ Barea said. "I’m enjoying it to the fullest.
"This winning, having a baby, everything’s turned out to be a solid week, so I’m just excited to go back home.’’
The Mavericks were the only Western Conference team to go undefeated last week while playing at least four games.
Barea topped off his week Sunday by scoring a team-high 21 points and handing out a team-high six assists as the Mavericks grinded their way to an 88-78 triumph over the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Target Center.
In the first quarter of that game, Barea scored half of the 22 points the Mavericks scored, keeping them within five points of the Timberwolves by the time the period ended.
"He carried us during that period,’’ coach Rick Carlisle said. "It was much needed, and I thought as the game went on other guys took up the slack and we just found ways to get shots.
"Barea’s been here before, he’s been heavily relied upon and he’s had to fill-in in big situations. So he knows what this is about.’’
For the Mavericks, it’s all about climbing the Western Conference ladder. Dallas (38-37) is currently seated seventh in the standings, but is only one game behind sixth-seeded Portland (41-37) in the loss column, and a mere two games behind fifth-seeded Memphis (41-36) in the loss column.
However, eighth-seeded Utah (39-38) is tied with the Mavericks and ninth-seeded Houston (38-39) is just one game behind Dallas in the loss column.
The Mavericks just hope Barea can maintain his hot hand when they host Houston on Wednesday night. On the season, Barea is averaging 10.9 points, 4.1 assists and 22.5 minutes in 71 games (13 starts). Since the All-Star break, Barea is averaging 13.9 points and 4.5 assists while shooting 50.2 percent (125-of-249) from the floor and 44.9 percent (35-of-78) on 3-pointers.
"I’m in great rhythm,’’ Barea said. "And coach and my teammates are doing a great job of putting me in good situations, and I’m taking advantage.’’
Dwain Price can be heard every Wednesday from 3-4 p.m. on dfwiradio.com