ATLANTA — Despite entering Friday night with a 5-1 record this season against the NBA’s Eastern Conference, the Dallas Mavericks still had a lot to prove as they stepped into Philips Arena for a matchup against the Atlanta Hawks.
Sitting with just a 2-5 record away from home coming into the night, the Mavericks tried to continue their dominance against the East while also changing their misfortunes on the road. The Mavs attempted to build off Wednesday night’s 103-99 home win over Golden State as well while beginning their sixth back-to-back in the month of November.
But instead the Mavericks (10-7) watched seemingly helplessly as a 17-point lead dwindled away, falling to an 88-87 defeat in the process while finishing the game without their starting point guard after Jose Calderon went down with a right ankle injury.
“We’ve got to get over it. We don’t have a choice, and we’ve got to do it quickly,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said of the loss while turning his attention to Saturday night’s game at home against Minnesota. “This is one time where you’ve got to have a short memory, you’ve got to get angry, and you’ve got to channel it towards the next game. Look, it’s very disappointing without question, and it’s a tough lesson.”
With sharpshooter Kyle Korver (rib contusion) ruled out of the contest, Hawks sixth man Lou Williams slid into Atlanta’s starting lineup. Meanwhile, Mavs leading scorer Monta Ellis tried to shake off his 2-of-16 shooting night against Golden State, lending a helping hand to his backcourt mate, Calderon, as the two newcomers took charge of the scoring early for the visiting Dallas team.
Four-time All-Star Shawn Marion then came alive from behind the 3-point arc, lifting the Mavs to a 28-23 advantage after 12 minutes of play.
After missing his first three shot attempts in the first, 11-time All-Star power forward Dirk Nowitzki began to assert him in the second stanza while powering a 16-0 Dallas run. Calderon then reassumed the lead scoring duties, draining his fourth 3-pointer of the night to give the Mavericks a 45-29 advantage with 4:06 remaining in the half. The lead guard’s 16 first-half points boosted the Mavs to a 53-39 edge from there heading into the halftime intermission.
Led by Calderon’s 5-of-9 shooting and 4-of-5 from 3-point range, the Mavs assumed the double-digit lead at the midway mark despite matching the Hawks’ 42.5 percent from the field. The Mavs also held a 24-21 rebounding edge while hitting 7-of-13 from behind the arc, overcoming the Hawks’ 26-3 advantage in points in the paint and 10-0 margin in fast-break points through two quarters.
Using a trey from Marion to quiet a mini 5-0 run by the Hawks (9-8) to open the third quarter, the Mavericks quickly regained the momentum as Nowitzki and Ellis moved into double figures. Sixth man Vince Carter’s jumper then pushed the lead back to 17, 66-49, forcing an Atlanta timeout with 5:57 left in the period.
However, with Calderon in the locker room having his right ankle examined and X-rayed, the Mavs took just a 75-64 edge into the final quarter as the Hawks began to change the tide of the game.
“It happened in the first half, and I was trying to go in the third quarter but I just couldn’t and it was getting worse,” Calderon said of the injury. “It was pretty sore there … but in the X-ray we couldn’t see anything, so that’s some good news. I really don’t know what happened. I don’t know if somebody hit me or I hit the floor, I’m not sure. That’s why it’s kind of weird.”
“It had a lot of impact, obviously,” Carlisle added in regard to the injury. “You know, he had a good game going, so you lose an experienced player and other guys have to be ready.”
With Calderon out the remainder of the night and first-rounder Shane Larkin struggling, rookie lead guard Gal Mekel got the nod from Carlisle early in the fourth. Meanwhile, the Hawks continued charging back, trimming their deficit to single digits when Jeff Teague’s score forced a Carlisle timeout with his team up five, 81-76, and 7:23 still on the clock.
“We started turning the ball over, they got out and ran, and they made some big shots,” Ellis said after the Hawks began to stage their comeback. “It was just an ugly game for us, and we’ve got to do better. We can’t let games like this slip away, and we let this one slip away. It’s just unacceptable.”
The Dallas defense then tried to buckled down while Ellis occupied the point guard spot, but Teague’s trip to the free-throw line after a foul by Mavs center Samuel Dalembert made it just a four-point game with 3:54 left to play. Paul Millsap’s 3-pointer over Nowitzki from the top of the key then cut the Mavs’ edge to just one, 87-86, with 1:16 remaining to hold on.
The Mavs then grew stagnant on the offensive end before Al Horford stepped into a jumper to give the Hawks a one-point edge with 4.2 seconds left. Out of a timeout, Carter’s 20-footer at the other end then misfired to finish off the late-game collapse.
Matching Calderon with 16 points was Nowitzki, while Marion added 15 points and 12 rebounds. Ellis was the only other Mav in double figures with 12 points while backup big man DeJuan Blair scored nine points and collected a season-high 18 rebounds off the bench.
Teague led four Hawks in double figures with 25 points on 8-of-14 shooting. The Hawks’ 42.5 percent also bettered the Mavs’ 37.7 percent, overcoming the Mavs’ 44-43 rebounding edge with a 46-16 margin in points in the paint and 23-2 advantage in fast-break points.
The Mavs also gave up 20 points off their 18 turnovers, forcing Atlanta into 16 giveaways for 12 Dallas points at the other end.
“You’ve got to give them credit, they moved their pressure up. Jose wasn’t out there and they started jumping some of our pick-and-rolls and we started turning the ball over,” Nowitzki admitted. “They jump-switched some stuff, and we just didn’t get enough baskets. I mean, when you shoot 37 percent on the road it’s tough for you to win, even though we had enough chances there. Our defense wasn’t great there, and Teague got to the free-throw line way too many times and broke us down, so that was tough. But still, if we have a decent scoring fourth quarter, we should win this game.
“It’s a terrible loss. We’ve got to find a way to win this game, especially when it’s a back-to-back situation against a good Minnesota team coming in tomorrow. This is as bad a loss as it gets in this league, but it’s over now. We went through it, we weren’t good in the fourth at all, and we’ve got to learn from it.”
Note: The Mavericks return to American Airlines Center on Saturday, taking on the Minnesota Timberwolves on the second night of a back-to-back. Minnesota leads the season series 1-0, handing the Mavs a 116-108 road loss on Nov. 8. The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest at 7:30 p.m. CT. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling (214) 747-MAVS (6287) or by visiting Mavs.com.
|Shawn Marion, F||35||15||2||2||0||12||10||2||1||2||-6||6-14||3-8||0-0|
|Dirk Nowitzki, F||31||16||1||0||0||3||2||1||1||4||-6||6-13||1-1||3-3|
|Samuel Dalembert, C||21||8||0||1||2||4||3||1||0||3||-3||1-2||0-0||6-6|
|Monta Ellis, G||37||12||4||2||1||3||3||0||7||2||-5||6-15||0-0||0-0|
|Jose Calderon, G||25||16||3||0||0||0||0||0||1||2||8||5-11||4-7||2-2|
|DeMarre Carroll, F||34||9||2||2||1||10||7||3||2||2||1||2-7||0-2||5-5|
|Paul Millsap, F||38||15||4||3||0||6||5||1||2||3||7||6-14||1-2||2-2|
|Al Horford, C||37||17||2||1||1||12||8||4||6||4||4||7-13||0-0||3-4|
|Louis Williams, G||24||12||2||0||1||2||2||0||1||0||-6||4-8||1-4||3-4|
|Jeff Teague, G||34||25||6||2||0||1||1||0||1||1||11||8-14||0-1||9-11|
ATLANTA — Despite a subpar night from their leading scorer, the Dallas Mavericks were able to stop a two-game slide in its tracks thanks to a balanced team effort Wednesday night. Bouncing back from getting swept in their home-and-home series with the Denver Nuggets, the Mavericks (10-6) featured six players in double figures to improve to 8-1 at home this season following a 103-99 victory over the Golden State Warriors. The Mavs also made up for Monta Ellis’ rare off-shooting night, as the cat-quick guard finished with a season-low four points on 2-of-16 shooting. “Hey, momma said there’d be nights like this. The biggest thing is we got the win,” Ellis said after making up for his lackluster shooting with 10 assists. “It’s a long season. I’ve been (in the league) nine years, and I’ve had shooting nights like this. But [Mavs coach Rick Carlisle] still wanted me to be aggressive. I made plays for others and we got the win.” “You know, they’re keying on [Ellis] and he had a tough night shooting the ball, but his assists were huge,” Carlisle added. “Defensively, it was one of his better defensive games. … Look, I say it all the time: shot making comes and goes. It’s fickle, but consistent defense is what you win with in this league and (Wednesday night) we showed signs of being a better defensive team.” But, as the Mavs now venture out on the road for the front end of the sixth back-to-back in the month of November, they will look to get Ellis back on track while facing the Atlanta Hawks Friday before returning home to host the Minnesota Timberwolves 24 hours later. And after previously posting at least 18 points in the team’s first 15 games, an aggressive Ellis will likely take the court at Philips Arena as he tries to lead the Mavericks’ fifth-ranked scoring offense, which is putting up 105.5 points an outing. Ellis had a big outing against the Hawks (8-8) already this season during the opener at home, debuting in front of the Dallas crowd with 32 points, four rebounds and eight assists in a 118-109 victory on Oct. 30. The Mavs saw the Hawks in the preseason as well, hanging on against the short-handed Atlanta squad that was without All-Star big man Al Horford en route to a 98-88 victory back on Oct. 23. This time around, however, Horford will be available and the game will actually count in the standings, as the Hawks enter the night skidding on a three-game losing streak. “You know, they play very well at home and they’re a very interesting team,” four-time All-Star Shawn Marion said of the Hawks. “They have a few different weapons, and we have to take care of the big guy, Al Horford, and the guards. We know what they’re going to do, so we’ve got to be prepared for it.” Note: The Mavs travel to Atlanta to take on the Hawks Friday night. The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest at 6:30 p.m. CT. The Mavericks return to American Airlines Center on Saturday night, taking on the Minnesota Timberwolves on the second night of a back-to-back. The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest at 7:30 p.m. CT. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling (214) 747-MAVS (6287) or by visiting Mavs.com.
Mavericks Head Coach Rick Carlisle
“The Hawks put pressure on and we didn’t handle it well. They made plays and we didn’t. It’s very disappointing. We have to get over it. We have to do it quickly. This is one time you have to have a short memory, get angry, and channel it towards the next game.”
On the loss of Jose Calderon during the game to injury
“It had a lot of impact. He had a good game going. When you lose an experienced player, other guys have to be ready to step up. Look, we don’t have a lot of time to mope about this. We have to turn around tomorrow and play at home against a tough opponent. We have to circle the wagons.”
On turning point in the game tonight
“We started turning the ball over and they got out and ran and made some big shots. This was just and ugly game for us. We have to do better. We can’t let games like this slip away. It’s just unacceptable.”
On losing Jose Calderon tonight
“That’s part of the game. The next man has to step up. We came up short tonight.”
“Things that we were doing throughout the whole game we stopped doing, and we got stagnant on the floor (offensively). But there’s still no excuse for that. We knew they would make a run, and they play well here on their home court, but we should not have lost this game. It’s just that simple. We should have won this game.”
On losing Jose Calderon tonight
“It was an impact. But that’s why we have guys called professionals. They have to come in and play well when we need them. This is the NBA and guys go down with injuries every day. The next guy has to step in, and if he’s not ready, then we have to call on the next guy, and if he’s not ready, then we have to figure out something.”