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Game 43: Mavs at Cavaliers presented-by-bbva-2 Subscribe via RSS

Mavericks vs. Cavaliers

Monta Ellis scores 22 points,the Mavericks held off a late Cavaliers' rally to beat Cleveland 102-97.

Despite taking the court in celebration of equality to honor the Martin Luther King holiday, the Dallas Mavericks also hoped to quickly separate themselves from the Cleveland Cavaliers as the two teams met in a matinee matchup Monday.

Trying to bounce back from Saturday’s 127-111 home loss to Portland, the Mavericks stepped into Quicken Loans Arena ready to begin a three-game road trip. Meanwhile, the Mavs tried to continue their recent dominance over the Cavaliers after winning five of the previous six meetings against the Cleveland team entering the night.

But, after jumping out to a 24-point lead in the first half, the Mavs would find themselves in a fight late. Still, the Mavericks (25-18) managed to begin their road trip on a high note, sneaking off the Cavaliers’ home floor with a 102-97 win.

“We knew it was going to be a dogfight, but we stuck to the course, took the punches as they were throwing them and were able to come out with the win,” starting 2-guard Monta Ellis said of the hard-fought victory.

Attempting to get off to a fast start after their lackluster performance Saturday, the Mavericks would quickly find themselves in a dogfight in the early stage of the first quarter. But, behind 11-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki and versatile small forward Shawn Marion, the Mavs would gain a little traction while taking a 30-23 lead into the second stanza.

With Nowitzki still on the attack, the Mavericks continued to separate the squads early in the second period. Backup big man DeJuan Blair also gave the Mavs a lift inside, scoring at will as the visitors took a double-digit advantage. Ellis then collected a steal, finding Marion on the break for a floater as the Mavs seized an 18-point lead, 51-33, with 2:27 remaining in the half.

And after the lead reached as many as 24, the visiting Mavericks sprinted into the locker room with a 59-37 advantage under their belt.

Led by Marion’s 14 first-half points and Blair’s additional 11 points off the bench on a combined 10-of-10 shooting, the Mavericks’ 54.8 percent from the field bettered the Cavaliers’ 34.2 percent at the other end of the floor through two quarters. The Mavs also held a 24-14 edge in rebounding in the half to go along with a 24-14 advantage in the paint.

“I think we have to continue to do what we were doing in the first half — sharing the ball, getting defensive stops and getting out,” Ellis said. “This is the NBA. You know, teams are going to make runs, but we’ve got to stay together as a team and continue to help one another and try to find ways to win the game, like we did tonight.”

While the Mavericks continued to remain in control early in the third, they’d also be forced to play without starting center Samuel Dalembert as he headed back to the locker room with an apparent left shoulder injury. Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving then took matters into his own hands, trying to singlehandedly bring his team back into the game.

It was then determined that Dalembert would be out the remainder of the night with a left shoulder strain. But, even without Dalembert inside, the Mavs would settle down as rookie point guard Shane Larkin found big man Brandan Wright for an alley-oop finish. And despite Irving’s 16-point third quarter, the Mavericks took a 79-66 lead into the fourth.

Looking to make a splash after returning from offseason toe surgery and making his season debut Saturday, veteran guard Devin Harris stepped in with end-to-end play to provide a spark for the Mavs off the bench early in the fourth period. Still, the Cavaliers (15-26) refused to go away quietly, cutting their deficit to single digits when Jarrett Jack beat the shot clock with a 3-pointer to trim the lead to 85-76 with 7:53 remaining.

The Cleveland run wouldn’t end there, despite Ellis’ jumper to quiet the home crowd briefly while extending the lead back to eight. Instead, thanks to Irving’s jumper with 4:41 remaining, the Cavaliers forced a Dallas timeout after pulling within three, 87-84.

“Hopefully we can learn from that,” starting point guard Jose Calderon said as the Mavs tried to prevent a fifth loss this season when leading by at least 17 points. “We have seen this whole year that this league is getting closer and closer talent-wise.  If you have a lead, you have to work at it.  It doesn’t matter who you play, everybody is going to be right there.”

A Nowitzki jumper would quickly follow, ending Cleveland’s 16-2 run. Ellis then answered a jumper by Cavaliers new addition Luol Deng with a timely score, attempting to keep the home team at bay after the margin shrunk to just two. Ellis forced a steal a short time later, leading to Marion’s transition layup to make it a 97-90 score with 1:35 still on the clock to hold on.

Harris then shut down Irving on the defensive end while Ellis knocked down clutch free throws late. Jack’s 1-for-2 trip to the free-throw line to foul out Blair with 17.5 seconds left would make it a 98-95 score after that. And after Ellis missed two free throws at the other end and the Cavaliers grabbed the rebound with 2.8 seconds left, the Dallas defense would save the day by forcing a five-second call on the subsequent possession before Ellis put finishing touches on the win with clutch strokes at the charity strip.

“We kept our composure, continued to run our plays, executed down the stretch and got stops at the other end,” Ellis explained.

“On the road, teams battle back if they get behind and we did a good job of holding them off,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle echoed. “It got to two and we had to get a couple of stops and scores, and we got it done. That’s what it’s about, and we’ll keep working to do better.”

Finishing with 22 points on 8-of-16 shooting, Ellis also dished out eight assists as the Mavs ended the game with six scorers in double figures.

Marion added 18 points in the first unit and Nowitzki recorded a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Off the bench, Blair registered 13 points. Meanwhile, Calderon pitched in 11 points and Wright added 10 points in a reserve role. The Mavs also ended the game with a 33-8 advantage in bench scoring.

“We had a lot of guys step up and do good things on offense, and then we had to play 11 guys to get the win. Everybody that stepped in there did something good for us. That’s kind of how our team is built,” Carlisle added.

Irving led the Cavaliers with 26 points, hitting just 10 of his 27 shots but dishing out nine assists. The Mavericks also finished the night outshooting the Cavaliers, 45.8 percent to 40.7 percent, making up for a 46-39 rebounding deficit with 21 points off Cleveland’s 15 turnovers.

“I think our biggest thing is that we have to continue to do the things that we do to win,” Ellis concluded, “and that’s every night come out and play together, have each others’ backs on the defensive and offensive ends and play together as a team. We’ve got a deep bench, a great starting five and we’ve got Devin Harris back, so I think right now we’re about to turn the table, where we put a couple wins on. But we’ve got to take it game by game and continue to play hard every night.”

Note: The Mavericks will now continue their road trip in Toronto, looking to avenge a 109-108 overtime loss back on Dec. 20. The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest at 6 p.m. CT.

The Mavs return to American Airlines Center on Sunday, Jan. 26, to begin a four-game homestand against the Detroit Pistons. The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest at 6:30 p.m. CT. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling (214) 747-MAVS (6287) or by visiting

Dallas Mavericks
Shawn Marion, F347-82-32-203311012-1418
Dirk Nowitzki, F358-200-51-21910100021917
Samuel Dalembert, C140-00-01-21231022111
Monta Ellis, G368-160-16-1003382034-322
Jose Calderon, G274-81-42-210160012-511
Vince Carter201-90-23-30442100355
DeJuan Blair205-70-03-332500006-813
Shane Larkin181-31-20-002212102143
Devin Harris131-70-30-00330000162
Jae Crowder50-00-00-00111100120
Brandan Wright133-50-04-422410011810
Wayne Ellington00-00-00-00000000000
Bernard James00-00-00-00000000000
Ricky Ledo00-00-00-00000000000
Gal Mekel00-00-00-00000000000
38-834-2022-28831392273825 102
Cleveland Cavaliers
Luol Deng, F355-82-48-902231023120
Tristan Thompson, F396-110-07-108210001241019
Anderson Varejao, C377-120-04-641721420151218
CJ Miles, G262-70-52-200030013-36
Kyrie Irving, G4010-272-64-4022920441026
Dion Waiters160-40-20-002200011-100
Tyler Zeller90-00-00-013400001-110
Earl Clark81-60-20-012300002-172
Jarrett Jack212-41-21-202220021-76
Matthew Dellavedova40-20-20-000000000-100
Anthony Bennett00-00-00-00000000000
Carrick Felix00-00-00-00000000000
Alonzo Gee00-00-00-00000000000
Sergey Karasev00-00-00-00000000000
Henry Sims00-00-00-00000000000
33-815-2326-3314324621511324 97

Knight Alley-oop

Shane Larkin finds Brandon Wright for the slam.


Blair Up and Under

DeJuan Blair goes up and under the basket.


Hoop and Harm

Vince Carter slices for through the Cavaliers defense, gets the basket and-one.

After one of their worst defensive performances of the season, the Dallas Mavericks will try to contain Kyrie Irving and the Cleveland Cavaliers in a matinee matchup Monday to begin a three-game road trip.

Coming off Saturday’s 127-111 home loss to Portland, the Mavericks (24-18) will look to play a much more complete 48 minutes after trailing by as many as 38. The Mavs will also attempt to spit out the sourness of Saturday’s outing, completing their 11th back-to-back of the season with a lackluster performance.

“We regressed tonight,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said after the loss. “The first three quarters are beyond embarrassing. We were poor on offense, too, but we weren’t together. We weren’t playing together. We weren’t helping each other. Do that against a quality team … and they’re going to make you pay a heavy price.”

“We’ve got to find a way to compete a little harder and keep guys out of the paint. Everybody’s just got to work a little harder,” 11-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki added after the Dallas defense allowed the Blazers to shoot 51.1 percent while adding a 55-30 rebounding edge and 60-38 margin in the paint.

Unfortunately for the Mavs’ sake, the Cavaliers (15-25) welcome the visiting Dallas team to town following Friday’s 117-109 win at Denver. The Cavaliers will also be out to avenge five losses in the last six meetings between the two teams.

But, despite their recent disappointing effort, the Mavs did receive a bit of good news while seeing the season debut of veteran guard Devin Harris.

Harris, who missed the first 41 games following offseason toe surgery, returned to the lineup to score six points and dish out two assists in his 17 minutes of work. He also provided the Mavericks with another option in the backcourt, speeding up the game during his limited action while seeing time at both the backup point and shooting guard spots.

“It’s good to be back out there,” Harris said after making his debut. “Obviously I would have liked a better result, but I was just getting within a game rhythm. It felt a lot better in the second half. In the first half, I was just kind of going through the motions and feeling my way out there. Everything felt good. Just got quality minutes and something to build upon.”

“I actually like what I saw,” Nowitzki said of Harris’ return. “I think he felt good. Obviously his rhythm was a little off since he hasn’t played since April, but when an injured player comes back you see how he moves, cuts, stops and accelerates, and I thought it was great. He picked up fullcourt and he made a couple of hard moves. I’m looking forward to getting him out there more and more and playing at a high level.”

The cat-quick guard now hopes to help the Mavericks improve on a 10-11 record away from home during their road trip, as the Dallas team tries to make up ground in the standings with three games against the Eastern Conference.

Note: The Mavericks will return to the road, beginning a three-game trip in Cleveland for a matchup Monday against the Cavaliers. The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest at noon CT.

The Mavs return to American Airlines Center on Sunday, Jan. 26, to begin a four-game homestand against the Detroit Pistons. The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest at 6:30 p.m. CT. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling (214) 747-MAVS (6287) or by visiting