MINNEAPOLIS – With their eyes squarely on a much bigger prize, the Dallas Mavericks weren’t about to allow the Minnesota Timberwolves get in their way.
Not Wednesday night or any day of the week.
So, as the Mavs throttled the Timberwolves 98-75 at the Target Center, they did so knowing that Minnesota was just another team standing in the way of something much more precious.
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"I think the biggest thing for us actually now is it’s about the Dallas Mavericks,’’ center Tyson Chandler said. "We can’t get up for a Memphis team and then go down against a Minnesota team and then get up against Chicago or whatever the case may be.
"We have to always come in and understand who the Dallas Mavericks are and what we’re trying to accomplish and feel good about the way we played no matter if it’s a win or a loss.’’
Wednesday’s win was the 10th in the last 13 games for the Mavs as they improved to 30-11 on the season and completed this road trip 2-0 counting Monday’s victory over the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Mavs turned a blind eye to the 7-33 record the Timberwolves brought into Wednesday’s game. They weren’t about to ease up and help the Timberwolves think they had a chance of getting out of this building with a victory.
"We don’t look at their record,’’ said Chandler Parsons, who poured in a game-high 22 points. "Our plans are something way bigger than that.
"We understand that we had a big win in Memphis a couple of nights ago. But that one means nothing if we came out and lay down and trick this one off.’’
All 13 Mavs who dressed scored at least two points against Minnesota. And counting the 16 points Dirk Nowitzki scored, he and Parsons were the only Dallas players who tallied at least 10 points.
The Mavs scoring less than 100 points? And getting a win with just two players in double-figure scoring?
Now that’s a rare feat.
"This team this year has never been about putting the load on one or two guys,’’ coach Rick Carlisle said. "We need to have balance, we need to move it, and we need to have fresh guys coming in all the time.
"Guys compete hard for minutes, but pat each other on the butts when we get to the games.’’
That all for one, one for all mentality was never more apparent than late in the second quarter when the whole Mavs’ bench stood up and cheered after Al-Farouq scored after grabbing two offensive rebounds. That was a big-time hustle play by a Mavs player who has seen his minutes decrease in recent weeks.
Still, Chandler said remaining focused on dethroning the Timberwolves wasn’t difficult "when you make it about you and the accomplishments that you want to have coming into the season. It’s not difficult at all because you know how important these games are.
"It’s not even just for the wins, which they are important. But it’s also building team chemistry and continuing to grow as a unit.’’