Despite getting off to a slow start Tuesday night against the defending champion San Antonio Spurs, the Dallas Mavericks would respond to back-to-back losses with a timely win on their home floor.
Falling behind by as many as 14 in the first quarter before sprinting to a 101-94 win, the Mavericks (45-27) kept pace with the Spurs (45-26) in the heated Western Conference playoff race. But, with the scene set to shift to San Antonio for the season series finale on Friday, the Mavs know they’ll face a far more daunting task while beginning a stretch of three straight road games.
The stakes were high and the pressure was palpable, and the Mavericks responded to a rough loss with perhaps their best win of the season last night against San Antonio.
The offense sizzled after the first quarter to the tune of 110.1 points per 100 possessions, an elite mark. Monta Ellis spearheaded the attack, scoring a season-high-tying 38 points on 16-of-27 shooting from the field. But, as has been the case ever since the Rajon Rondo trade, the Mavericks won the game with defense. Dallas limited San Antonio to just 65 points after a first quarter in which the Spurs scored 29. The team absolutely came alive in the final three frames, forcing 16 turnovers, allowing just six offensive rebounds, and scoring 20 points on the fast break.
This was an all-around performance against a division rival at home in a game the Mavericks needed to win. Any way you slice it, this was a huge win. Let’s see how Dallas got it done.
It didn’t take long for Dallas Mavericks leading scorer Monta Ellis to bounce back from a disappointing showing Sunday against the Phoenix Suns.
In fact, just two nights after his 4-of-22 shooting performance in Phoenix, Ellis was back in his usual form and carrying the Mavericks (45-27) to a much-needed win over the defending champion San Antonio Spurs to rebound from back-to-back losses.
Leading the way to a 101-94 win Tuesday night, Ellis matched his season-high scoring output with 38 points on 16-of-27 shooting. In doing so, Ellis may have set the Mavs up to further cement their place in the Western Conference playoff picture, looking to build on Tuesday’s performance as the Mavs conclude the season series against the Spurs (44-26) on Friday night in San Antonio.
We’ve officially reached the stretch run of the NBA season. In a matter of two-and-a-half weeks, the regular season will be over and the playoffs will be upon us.
But as the Mavs continue to work their way through the Western Conference, not much at all is clear. At this point, only three teams — the Golden State Warriors and Memphis Grizzlies — have a multi-game lead over the team directly beneath them in the standings. The Warriors top the West, while Memphis sits 7.5 games behind and 2.5 up on third place. The Mavs, meanwhile, are 3.5 games up on eighth-place Oklahoma City.
Dallas has just 11 games remaining on its schedule and no team in the West playoff picture has more than 14. That means there’s not much time to sort out what’s left after the carnage of the regular season finally ends. This season’s West is one of the deepest and best conferences in the history of the NBA, and certainly since the league has expanded to 30 teams. Ten teams are vying for eight spots, and the 11th-seeded Utah Jazz have a better record than eighth-place Charlotte out East. Simply making it to the playoffs is a heck of an accomplishment this season, but the eight teams who survive aren’t going to admit that. It’s all about winning the championship, and in a conference this deep, no matter what seed you are, you truly believe you have a chance at the trophy.
Despite the disappointment of back-to-back losses, the Dallas Mavericks remain confident that they can spark a turnaround in time for the playoffs.
Since winning three straight games in the midst of a 3-2 homestand, the Mavericks (44-27) have fallen to a 112-101 loss to Memphis last Friday and a 98-92 defeat at Phoenix on Sunday. Now, after rallying from down 17 in the first half against the Suns before eventually falling, the Mavs will attempt to get back on track by seizing the upper hand in the season series against the defending champion San Antonio Spurs with a win Tuesday at American Airlines Center.