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Game 31: Mavs at Timberwolves presented-by-bbva-2 Subscribe via RSS

MINNEAPOLIS — After suffering two losses earlier in the season at the hands of the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Dallas Mavericks had revenge on their minds as they looked to end 2013 with a victory.

Playing their final outing of the calendar year Monday night, the Mavericks stepped into the Target Center attempting to avenge two narrow losses to the Timberwolves back in November. The Mavs also hoped to build off Saturday’s 105-83 win in Chicago, playing the second showdown of a three-game road trip.

But, after sprinting out to a 21-point lead, the Mavs would find themselves in a dogfight during the second half. And with four-time All-Star Shawn Marion saving the day, the Mavericks (18-13) moved to 2-0 on their road trip after a hard-fought 100-98 win.

“It says a lot,” Marion said after the victory. “[The Timberwolves] are one of the best scoring teams in the league and we knew they were going to make a run. We were able to hold our ground and get the win.”

Connecting on their first four shots of the night, the Mavericks looked to get off to a fast start while battling against the likes of Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio. Marion would assure that the Mavs did just that, scoring 10 first-quarter points to help the visiting team take a 29-23 advantage into the second stanza.

With 11-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki scoreless in the opening quarter for the second straight game, backup big man Brandan Wright picked up the slack off the bench with an array of aerial finishes. Meanwhile, Marion continued his assault on the Minnesota defense, scoring at will to help the Mavericks surge ahead by as much as 19. Marion then matched his season-high scoring total on a buzzer-beating floater to give him 21 first-half points, lifting the Mavs into the halftime intermission with a 62-43 advantage.

Led by Marion’s 10-of-12 shooting through two quarters, the Mavericks connected on 60 percent as a team while holding the Timberwolves (15-16) to 44.7 percent. The Mavs also scored 15 points off the Wolves’ 13 first-half turnovers, adding a 32-22 edge in points in the paint and 12-4 margin in fast-break points at the midway mark.

With Marion continuing to lead the way, the Mavericks came out of the locker room still clicking on all cylinders. However, after the lead peaked at 21, the Timberwolves came roaring back, forcing a Dallas timeout with the score 70-57 as 6:49 remained in the third period.

The timeout by Mavs coach Rick Carlisle couldn’t stop the momentum from swinging, however, as the home team crept within single digits behind the sharpshooting of Corey Brewer and Kevin Martin. Love’s outlet pass to Brewer for the slam then evened the score at 81-all and capped off a 15-2 Minnesota run as the two teams battled to a stalemate after three quarters.

“We’ve obviously got to play better in the third quarter than we did,” Carlisle confessed. “That’s something that we know. … You don’t want to give up a 38-point quarter, like we did in the third, but they have that kind of scoring punch. And when you get hit like that the important thing is to bounce back and hit back, and we did.”

Despite Nowitzki’s best efforts to keep the Timberwolves at bay early in the fourth, Love’s long-range bomb would quickly give the Minnesota team an 86-85 edge. A technical foul on Mavs starting shooting guard Monta Ellis further handicapped the visitors with 6:36 on the clock. But, as he had all night long, Marion intervened yet again with back-to-back 3-pointers to force Minnesota into a timeout as 3:43 remained while the Mavs grabbed ahold of a 95-90 advantage.

A jumper by Nowitzki then extended the lead to seven. However, the Dallas defense would struggle to contain Nikola Pekovic inside, allowing the Timberwolves to remain within an arm’s reach. Up two, Mavs center Samuel Dalembert’s 2-of-2 trip to the foul line with 47.5 seconds remaining then kept the two squads at a safe separation.  But Pekovic would answer with 39.9 ticks left with a score inside. And after Dalembert forced a miss by Pekovic but was called for traveling on the subsequent possession, the Dallas defense would require one final stop with 6.5 seconds remaining.

After Jose Calderon’s foul on Rubio led to a reset with 3.0 seconds on the clock, the defensive burden was fittingly placed on Marion’s broad shoulders. The versatile forward would answer the call, forcing a miss by Love in the final seconds to secure the win.

“Listen, it was only fitting that he made that play. It was a great job,” Carlisle said of Marion’s defensive prowess in the final moments.

“I just tried to make it hard for him, and I just stayed down and was ready to anticipate anything,” Marion added. “I’m all about winning games, whatever it takes. That’s all it boils down to.”

Leading the way to the win with a season-high 32 points for his best scoring output as a Mav on 14-of-19 shooting and 4 of 6 from behind the arc, Marion also added six rebounds and three assists.

“The last two games I think you can tell he’s confident,” Ellis said of his veteran teammate after Marion also registered a double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds against Chicago. “I think he’s more tuned in to being disrespected by other teams leaving him that way, so he’s been working on his game and it’s paying off the last two games.”

“We were moving the ball tonight and everybody was getting involved,” Marion modestly said. “Just taking what’s given to me. My teammates are finding me in great spots and we’re just looking for each other even more.”

Nowitzki added 16 points on 7 of 17 from the field and Wright was the only other Dallas scorer in double figures with 14 points off the bench.

Love led four Timberwolves in double figures with 36 points and 11 rebounds, but the Mavs’ 47.7 percent shooting as a team bettered the Wolves’ 45.6 percent. The Mavericks also overcame a 46-39 rebounding disadvantage with 19 points off Minnesota’s 18 turnovers, committing 11 giveaways of their own.

“We showed great resolve really in two games,” Carlisle concluded. “Chicago threw a big run at us, too, but they don’t have the offensive punch that these guys have. And so this is more meaningful, because of the standings and all that kind of stuff.”

Note: The Mavericks will now end their road trip and begin 2014 in the nation’s capital, taking on the Washington Wizards New Year’s Day at the Verizon Center. The Mavs lead the season series 1-0 after a 105-95 home win on Nov. 12. The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest at 5 p.m. CT.

The Mavs return to American Airlines Center Friday night, playing host to the Los Angeles Clippers. 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.

Dallas Mavericks
PLAYER MIN FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
Shawn Marion, F3114-194-60-015631102732
Dirk Nowitzki, F337-170-42-305530003-616
Samuel Dalembert, C203-30-03-42571011469
Monta Ellis, G403-140-33-303310213259
Jose Calderon, G363-72-40-00228303278
Vince Carter232-90-42-21455311226
Brandan Wright176-80-02-203301011114
Jae Crowder170-40-20-033610111-30
DeJuan Blair133-30-00-010112002-46
Shane Larkin50-20-10-010110011-50
Wayne Ellington00-00-00-00000000000
Devin Harris00-00-00-00000000000
Bernard James00-00-00-00000000000
Ricky Ledo00-00-00-00000000000
Gal Mekel00-00-00-00000000000
TOTALS FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF   PTS
41-866-2412-1493039331251120 100
47.7%25.0%85.7%
Minnesota Timberwolves
PLAYER MIN FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
Corey Brewer, F337-122-50-0022111141016
Kevin Love, F3914-242-76-8471141013-336
Nikola Pekovic, C416-130-06-6371011112-118
Kevin Martin, G356-151-36-721310132-419
Ricky Rubio, G301-30-12-218913302344
Alexey Shved60-30-10-002200120-30
Luc Mbah a Moute140-10-10-001100021-140
Dante Cunningham140-20-00-02460000000
Jose Juan Barea172-41-30-002220050-65
Robbie Hummel50-20-20-00000000070
Chase Budinger00-00-00-00000000000
Gorgui Dieng00-00-00-00000000000
Shabazz Muhammad00-00-00-00000000000
A.J. Price00-00-00-00000000000
Ronny Turiaf00-00-00-00000000000
TOTALS FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF   PTS
36-796-2320-2312344622641715 98
45.6%26.1%87.0%

MINNEAPOLIS — Since meeting twice in the month of November much as changed for both the Dallas Mavericks and Minnesota Timberwolves.

Suffering a 116-108 road loss on Nov. 8 and a 112-106 home defeat on Nov. 30 at the hands of the Timberwolves (15-15), the Mavericks (17-13) have since responded to find themselves in the thick of the playoff discussion after 30 games. Still, with just a 6-9 mark on the road this season following Saturday’s 105-83 blowout win in Chicago, the Mavs admit they will have to step their game up to avoid dropping the third showdown in the season series.

“You know, they’ve been putting up 100 to 120 every night. They’re a tough team to deal with for us on the defensive side and they’ve beat us twice already, so we’ve got to make sure we do a little better job defensively and get some stops when we need to,” 11-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki said in regard to slowing down the Timberwolves’ high-octane attack.

However, slowing the Wolves down may be easier said than done thanks to the emergence of center Nikola Pekovic.

In his last five games, Pekovic is averaging 24.6 points and 11.4 rebounds an outing. Playing alongside All-Star big man Kevin Love, Pekovic has become more of an offensive threat of late to help anchor Minnesota’s front line. And while already having their hands full with Love in the interior, the Mavs will also be forced to try to limit another big body in the paint.

“You’ve got one guy averaging 31 and one guy averaging  25, so that’s two guys that are playing huge,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said of the Love-Pekovic duo in Minnesota’s last five games. “They get to the free-throw line a lot, too, which is a problem, and they both generate possessions on the offensive boards. So, you’ve got to box them out. … You know, those guys are playing at a really high level and we’ve got to try to prevent that tonight.”

Note: The Mavericks will now end 2013 in Minneapolis, taking on the Minnesota Timberwolves Monday night at the Target Center. The Timeberwolves lead the season series 2-0. The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest at 7 p.m. CT.

The Mavs return to American Airlines Center Jan. 3, playing host to the Los Angeles Clippers. 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.

MINNEAPOLIS — Taking refuge from the frigid temperature outside, the Dallas Mavericks will try to settle the score with the Minnesota Timberwolves Monday night at the Target Center.

Showing just how dominant they’re capable of becoming away from home, the Mavericks (17-13) easily sprinted past the Chicago Bulls en route to a 105-83 rout Saturday night to begin a three-game road trip. But, after two losses earlier in the season to Kevin Love and the Timberwolves (15-15), the Mavs admit that they can’t get too high following Saturday’s win if they hope to continue making up ground in the Western Conference playoff picture.

“I mean, that’s just the benchmark on how we need to play,” Mavs sixth man Vince Carter said of Saturday’s performance. “We’re playing against a lot of teams that rebound and get up and down the floor, but I think everybody was on the same page and we were locked in offensively and defensively. It’s one of the first times I’ve seen us really play a complete game for 48 minutes in a while.”

“You know, we need to be better on the road. We don’t have a good record on the road at this point, and we’re getting into head-to-head games that are going to be meaningful,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle added as the Mavs try to improve on a 6-9 mark away from home. “In reality, you’ve got to play whistle to whistle and not look so much big picture, but the fact is this trip is an opportunity to get better playing out of our building. And we’ve lost the last two in our building, so every game is massively important.”

The Mavericks will need that same kind of effort Monday night, looking to finally slow down Love inside.

Over his last six games, Love is averaging 30.7 points, 14.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists. In two games against the Mavs this season he’s done similar damage, averaging 26.5 points, 13.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists while connecting on 51.4 percent shooting from the field. And if the Mavs are to avenge a 116-108  road loss on Nov. 8 and a 112-106 home defeat on Nov. 30, slowing down Love will go a long way.

Note: The Mavericks will now end 2013 in Minneapolis, taking on the Minnesota Timberwolves Monday night at the Target Center. The Timeberwolves lead the season series 2-0. The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest at 7 p.m. CT.

The Mavs return to American Airlines Center Jan. 3, playing host to the Los Angeles Clippers. 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.