Lakers vs. MavericksDirk Nowitzki scores 27 points and the Dallas Mavericks defeat the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night.
Hoping to avoid their first three-game losing streak of the young season, the Dallas Mavericks stepped into American Airlines Center in need of a victory on their home hardwood.
Suffering four straight home losses entering Tuesday’s matchup against the Los Angeles Lakers and trying to finish off their three-game homestand on a high note, the Mavericks braced themselves for the start of a stretch of four matchups in five nights. And with the San Antonio Spurs looming, the Mavs attempted to take care of business at home before venturing back out on the road.
But the second showdown of the season between the two squads would prove to be much more competitive than the Mavs’ 123-104 home victory back on Nov. 5. And after scratching and clawing their way to a 110-97 win, the Mavericks (20-15) finished their homestand with a little momentum.
“Well, we needed to stop the bleeding somehow. I think it wasn’t as pretty, but we got the job done somehow,” 11-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki said of the win. “I don’t think we were very good defensively and kind of kept them hanging around.”
With perennial All-Star Kobe Bryant still rehabbing from a left knee injury and point guard Steve Nash battling a bad back, the Mavericks looked to take advantage of the short-handed Lakers (14-21) right from the opening tip. But, despite getting eight quick points from four-time All-Star Shawn Marion as he battled an aching right ankle, the Mavs escaped the first quarter with just a 33-31 edge.
Postgame: Dirk NowitzkiMavs F Dirk Nowitzki discusses the blow of losing Shawn Marion to injury, how the team will fill his role against the Spurs and more.
Trying to create a separation between the two squads on the scoreboard in the second stanza, Nowitzki began to assert himself while moving into double figures. Sixth man Vince Carter soon lent a helping hand, providing the home team with a punch off the bench.
Starting shooting guard Monta Ellis then looked to break out of his shooting slump, converting a transition layup to put the Mavs up 53-47 with 3:33 left in the first half after missing his first six shot attempts. A short time later, however, the Mavs would receive a scare when Marion headed to the locker room holding his right shoulder after tripping over Nowitzki and landing with a hard fall on the defensive end.
“He’s banged up,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle would later say of Marion’s status. “X-rays were negative. He’s not going to travel with us (to San Antonio) and we hope that he feels better tomorrow or the next day. We’ll see.”
Still, the Mavs surged into the halftime break with a 60-53 advantage.
Led by Carter’s 14 first-half points and Nowitzki’s additional 13 points on a combined 12-of-20 shooting, the Mavericks’ 52 percent bettered the Lakers’ 47.5 percent through two quarters. The Mavs also feasted in the interior during the first 24 minutes of play, holding a 34-22 advantage in points in the paint and 24-22 rebounding edge at the midway mark.
Starting the third quarter with swingman Wayne Ellington in place of Marion as he remained in the locker room, the Mavericks began to share the wealth as the second half got underway. Marion was then ruled out the rest of the way due to a right shoulder contusion. And without their defensive catalyst on the floor, the Mavs charged ahead by 11 before taking an 85-77 advantage into the fourth.
Postgame: Vince CarterMavs G-F Vince Carter weighs in on Tuesday's win over the Lakers and looks ahead to Wednesday's matchup against the Spurs.
With 25-year-old rookie Gal Mekel struggling to protect the ball during his time as the backup point guard, Carlisle was forced to call timeout with his team up just 87-82 and 10:14 left to play. But the timeout wouldn’t stop the Lakers from inching closer, before starting point guard Jose Calderon returned to the floor to keep the visitors at bay.
Ellis then took matters into his own hands as the cat-quick guard assumed control of the offense down the stretch, scoring 10 straight points for the Mavs to regain a double-digit lead.
“It was the key stretch of the game,” Carlisle explained. “Monta had a rough game till that point offensively, although he had quite a few assists, and at that point we needed a spark. He made plays. I mean, a couple plays that weren’t necessarily scores and he made some defensive plays, too, so it was great to see a guy just staying the course, keep playing and then it just popped. That spurt got us the win.”
“It was great. He kind of brought it home for us,” Nowitzki added of Ellis’ scoring barrage. “His shot looked good there. I think he got his confidence back by getting a couple of layups in transition. He played some good defense, got a couple of steals and then he got on the break and got his confidence up by getting to the basket a couple of times. … He looked like he was unstoppable again.”
Carlisle then cleared his bench with 1:32 on the clock as the Mavericks’ reserves closed out the win.
Finishing with a game-high 27 points on 12-of-20 shooting, Nowitzki also added seven rebounds and four assists while leading five Dallas scorers in double figures.
Off the bench, Carter pitched in 19 points on 7 of 12 from the field. Scoring 10 of his 16 points in the fourth, Ellis also dished out nine assists. Meanwhile, starting center DeJuan Blair finished with 16 points and nine rebounds and Calderon registered 12 points and eight assists in the first unit.
Jodie Meeks led four Lakers in double figures with a team-high 24 points on 6-of-16 shooting, but Dallas’ 53.3 percent from the field bettered L.A.’s 42 percent. The Mavs also concluded the night with a 58-32 advantage in points in the paint, overcoming the Lakers’ 46-40 rebounding edge with 25 points off L.A.’s 20 turnovers, committing just 12 giveaways for 13 points at the other end of the floor.
“I think it was a much-needed win for us,” Carter concluded. “Going on the road our next game on a back-to-back against a San Antonio team that plays very well at home, I’m glad we were able to bounce back and not go 3-0 (on a road trip) and then 0-3 at home. It was a rough two games for us, but I think everybody was locked in tonight.”
“I looked for us to play a lot better from start to finish, but it just didn’t go that way,” Carlisle added. “It was a struggling night, but the important thing is to get a win when you’re struggling. We were able to do that. … The important thing is to find a way, and we did. Now, we’ve got to get on a plane and play a 6 p.m. game tomorrow, so we look forward to that.”
Note: The Mavs will now head to San Antonio for a showdown on the second night of a back-to-back against the Southwest Division-leading Spurs. The Spurs lead the season series 1-0 after handing the Mavericks a 116-107 home defeat back on Dec. 26. The game will air locally Wednesday at 6 p.m. CT on Fox Sports Southwest and nationally on ESPN.
The Mavericks return to American Airlines Center on Saturday to complete a home-and-home series against the New Orleans Pelicans. The Mavs lead the season series 1-0 after a 100-97 road win on Dec. 4. 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.
Stolen by EllisMonta Ellis gets the strip and goes in for the smooth lay-in.
|Los Angeles Lakers|
|Wesley Johnson, F||35||7-14||3-7||0-0||3||1||4||1||0||0||2||3||-13||17|
|Pau Gasol, F||36||5-14||0-0||5-7||4||9||13||5||0||2||3||2||-16||15|
|Robert Sacre, C||27||3-9||0-0||1-2||2||8||10||0||1||0||2||1||-3||7|
|Jodie Meeks, G||41||6-16||4-11||8-9||1||3||4||6||4||0||2||2||-5||24|
|Kendall Marshall, G||33||7-10||3-5||1-2||0||3||3||6||0||0||6||0||-18||18|
|Shawn Marion, F||15||4-7||0-1||0-0||0||7||7||1||0||0||0||1||11||8|
|Dirk Nowitzki, F||30||12-20||0-3||3-4||0||7||7||4||0||0||2||0||-6||27|
|DeJuan Blair, C||27||7-10||0-0||1-3||0||9||9||0||1||0||1||2||14||15|
|Monta Ellis, G||37||7-18||0-1||2-2||0||0||0||9||5||0||3||3||8||16|
|Jose Calderon, G||36||5-8||2-4||0-0||1||1||2||8||5||0||1||1||24||12|
Practice Report: Dirk NowitzkiMavs F Dirk Nowitzki comments on the loss to the Knicks, how they must improve going forward and much more.
DALLAS — After running through a three-game road trip unscathed, the Dallas Mavericks didn’t expect to find themselves in the position they’re in heading into Tuesday’s matchup against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Starting their current three-game homestand with losses to the L.A. Clippers and New York Knicks, the Mavericks (19-15) have now dropped four straight at American Airlines Center. They’ll attempt to get back on track while avoiding their first three-game losing streak of the season Tuesday night against the Kobe Bryant-less Lakers (14-20), looking to replicate a 123-104 rout at home back on Nov. 5.
“It’s tough and it’s weird, because it seems like at the beginning of the season we couldn’t win a road game and at home we were really good,” 11-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki said of the Mavs’ drought at home. “We played better at home, we made shots at home, and now it seems like the other way around. For some reason we’re more focused on the road and play better. Maybe the mindset is not right at home. Maybe we think it’s going to be better at home but it’s not. We’ve got to still compete, we’ve got to play hard, and we’d love to stop the bleeding (Tuesday).”
However, the Mavs must first correct their mistakes from Sunday’s 92-80 defeat at the hands of the Knicks. And after allowing 21 points off their 11 turnovers and dishing out just 13 assists as a team, better ball movement and consistency tops the Mavs’ list of priorities.
“We didn’t move the ball,” sixth man Vince Carter explained. “I mean, it’s a simple remedy that we know and we just have to get back to it. I think we’re going to have rough nights where things just aren’t going right, but we just have to stick to the basics and things that we know we can solve. Ball movement is one of them, and I think it didn’t happen. When it did we got ourselves back in the game. There again it all comes back to just being consistent at both ends. I think that’s the thing for us.”
“We got away from our movement game a little bit and only had three assists at the half. Overall, the energy was a little better in the second half. We moved it a little more, got some better looks and ended up with 10 or 11 assists in the second half, which is a number that’s decent for us. But we can’t get stagnant on offense. We’re not good enough. We’re better when we’re on the move, everybody is touching it and everybody is shooting it,” Nowitzki added.
Still, the Lakers may be just the team to cure the Mavs’ woes at home, as the L.A. squad begins a stretch of 10 of its next 11 games on the road. And with the Lakers sliding to losses in seven of their last eight games overall and allowing 108.3 points on average in that span, the Mavericks’ offense should once again thrive to begin a stretch of four games in five nights.
Note: The Mavs will now conclude their homestand Tuesday against the Los Angeles Lakers. Dallas leads the season series 1-0 after a 123-104 home win back on Nov. 5. 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.
Practice Report: Rick CarlisleMavs head coach Rick Carlisle weighs in on Sunday's loss to the Knicks, Shawn Marion's ankle, how to correct the team's problems heading into Tuesday's matchup against the Lakers and more.
Dirk Nowitzki has 999 career steals and needs just one steal for 1,000. He will become the second player in Mavericks history to record 1,000 steals with the franchise (Derek Harper is Dallas’ all-time leader with 1,551 steals). Nowitzki will join Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Moses Malone, Hakeem Olajuwon and Kevin Garnett as the only players in NBA history with at least 25,000 points, 9,000 rebounds, 1,000 blocks and 1,000 steals (the NBA began tracking steals and blocks in 1973-74). Nowitzki will also join Rasheed Wallace and Clifford Robinson as the only players in league history with at least 1,000 3-pointers, 1,000 blocks and 1,000 steals.
Shawn Marion has 6,992 career field goals and needs eight baskets to become the 61st player in league history with at least 7,000 field goals. Marion is currently tied with New York’s Metta World Peace for 19th place on the NBA’s all-time steals list with 1,688 steals. Ron Harper ranks 18th all-time in steals with 1,716.
Nowitzki ranks 23rd all-time in career minutes with 41,060. He needs 10 minutes to pass Scottie Pippen (41,069) for 22nd place on the NBA’s all-time minutes played list. Brooklyn’s Paul Pierce ranks 21st all-time in career minutes with 41,211.
Vince Carter ranks 10th all-time in 3-pointers made with 1,712. He needs eight triples to pass former Maverick Dale Ellis (1,719) for ninth place on the NBA’s all-time 3-point field goals made list. Peja Stojakovic ranks eighth all-time in 3-pointers made with 1,760.
Jose Calderon has 595 3-pointers and needs five treys for 600 in his career.
Now that's more like it. I'll take it, even if it is against a depleted demoralized team.
First of all, since I usually bash poor Vince, let me praise him for what was just about a perfect Vince Carter game. He did EXACTLY what he is on this team to do. He took good shots and filled in the scoring void left by Monta's awful start. It could have been an ugly game without Vince's masterful second quarter. Outstanding.
Second, 32 assists! There you go, team. That is the way to win. It's hard to believe the Mavs got outrebounded AGAIN but the assists and turnover numbers were fabulous.
Except Mekel. My goodness, he almost singlehandedly lost the game for Dallas, and could have if the Lakers weren't so inept. In one 1 minute 20 second stretch at the end of the 3rd Q, Mekel had two fouls and two turnovers! Then he starts the 4th Q (WHY was he playing?) with turnovers and missed shots. Horrible, horrible, horrible. I believe that Mekel cost them putting the game away by early in the 4th (not that this team ever puts a game away). The Mavs had a nice lead, but he ruined four minutes in which the Mavs could have used momentum to build a much bigger lead. In short, I don't believe the game would have been nearly this close if Mekel had not played in the 3rd and 4th.
Everyone else played pretty darned well, except for Wright. His numbers were good, but he has no business committing four fours in such short minutes against a team like this. Between him and Dalembert, it seems like one always leaves his basketball sense at home.