Timberwolves vs. Mavericks
Kevin martin scored a team high 27 points as the Timberwolves defeat the Mavericks 112-106.
DALLAS — One night after seeing their starting point guard go down with a right ankle injury, the Dallas Mavericks faced a daunting task while trying to bounce back from Friday’s 88-87 loss in Atlanta.
Diagnosed with a bone bruise in his right ankle, first-string floor general Jose Calderon was forced to watch in street clothes as his team took the court Saturday against the Minnesota Timberwolves while attempting to avenge a 116-108 road loss on Nov. 8. Meanwhile, the Mavs tried to bounce back from the events of the previous 24 hours, after surrendering a 17-point lead and falling to 2-6 this season on the road.
But, without Calderon, the Mavericks (10-8) wouldn’t have enough firepower to down the Timberwolves (9-9) to a fourth straight loss overall, falling at home for the second time this season after a 112-106 defeat to complete the sixth back-to-back in the month of November.
“We’re going to learn about our team right now. Lose four out of five, have a tough loss like last night and then another tough one like tonight – it’s going to test the togetherness and the collective will,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said after the loss.
He added: “There is challenging stuff going on, but you’ve just got to rise about it. That’s the bottom line. The schedule is what it is, and we’re at a point now where we’re paying a price for our health situation. If you want to blame it on the frequency of games, you can, but we’ve got to play better.”
After getting the start for the Mavs in the first four preseason games in place of an injured Calderon, 25-year-old rookie Gal Mekel got the nod from Carlisle over first-rounder Shane Larkin. Mekel then immediately handed the scoring responsibilities over to 11-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki as the Mavs jumped out to an early advantage.
Dirk Beats the Buzzer
Vince Carter throws the long toss to Dirk Nowitzki who hits the jumper to beat the buzzer to end the half.
But a well-rested Timberwolves team would answer with big man Nikola Pekovic scoring with ease inside at the other end of the floor, lifting the visitors to a 29-24 edge after the first quarter of play.
“[Pekovic] wiped us out early, and we didn’t do a good job on him. He had eight points in the first four minutes, and that was not good for us,” Carlisle confessed.
Behind the play of his reserves, Carlisle would see his team start to make a stand during the early minutes of the second stanza as Larkin took advantage of his matchup against ex-Mav J.J. Barea. Backup big man DeJuan Blair then brought the Mavericks within two, 37-35, when he took the feed from second-year standout Jae Crowder on the break for a score.
But the Timberwolves would come right back, pushing their advantage to as much as 11 before Nowitzki stopped and drained a jumper to beat the buzzer while bringing the Mavs within seven, 54-47, at the break.
Led by leading scorer Monta Ellis’ 11 first-half points on 4-of-7 shooting, the Mavericks tried to stay in the game while being outshot as a team by the Timberwolves, 47.5 percent to 44.7 percent, as the trio of Pekovic, Kevin Martin and former Mav Corey Brewer combined for 35 points. Minnesota also held a 26-20 rebounding edge on the glass through two quarters.
Ellis Gets The Tip-in
Monta Ellis gets the tip-in off the miss by Shawn Marion.
After a jumper by Nowitzki got the Mavs on the board to open the third period, Mekel’s penetration brought the team back within an arm’s reach as he found center Samuel Dalembert inside for a slam to come within one. Emotions then got heated as Nowitzki suffered a bloody nose after taking an inadvertent elbow from Minnesota point guard Ricky Rubio in the backcourt. A technical foul on Martin would soon follow before Ellis gave the Mavs a 66-64 edge with a 3-pointer in front of the Timberwolves’ bench.
However, Nowitzki would also be handed a technical with 2:07 left in the period for arguing with officials. Barea then pushed the Timberwolves to an 84-77 lead entering the fourth.
In need of a spark, the Mavs would again get it from their second unit as the duo of Blair and Crowder brought the Mavs within five, 88-83, with 8:49 remaining after back-to-back scores. A three-point play by sixth man Vince Carter and score by Blair then made it just a two-point game as the Mavericks began to rally in front of their hometown crowd.
Martin then proceeded to put his team on his back, pushing the separation back to eight as the clock ticked under the midway mark of the period. The sharpshooter then connected on a 3-pointer from the wing, forcing a timeout by Carlisle with his team trailing by 11, 103-92, and just 3:12 still on the clock. Kevin Love’s triple to make it a 106-96 score then put the game away for Minnesota as the two teams played out the clock the remainder of the way.
“This was a big game for us, especially after we let one drop yesterday, so it’s a tough one. I don’t think defensively we were good enough all night, to give up 112 at your place,” Nowitzki confessed after the game. “Every time we cut it to three or four or five, somebody for them would hit a big basket. … Every time we were kind of right there, we couldn’t get over the hump and they’d push it to keep the lead.”
Leading five Mavericks in double figures in a losing cause, Ellis finished with 26 points on 9-of-15 shooting, adding six rebounds and six assists. Nowitzki added 23 points, five rebounds and six assists, while Dalembert pitched in 12 points in the first unit. Meanwhile, Blair recorded 11 points and Carter registered 10 points off the bench.
Martin’s 27 points on 7-of-14 shooting led the way for the Timberwolves as all five starters scored in double figures. Minnesota’s 50.6 percent from the field also bettered the Mavs’ 48.9 percent, adding a 44-37 rebounding advantage and 56-42 margin in points in the paint.
“It seems like sometimes we can’t put together a good four or five stops in a row and that’s what we need,” four-time All-Star forward Shawn Marion said while critiquing the defensive effort. “We need some chain stops instead of just one good one. We’ve just got to stay with it and keep helping each other.
“It’s going to be some ups and downs throughout the season. We just have to make sure that we stay together and keep helping each other to get through it. It won’t happen overnight, but at the same time it can as well. We have to get rested up and get everybody healthy and go out there and take it one game at a time.”
Note: The Mavericks return to American Airlines Center on Tuesday, taking on the Charlotte Bobcats. 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.
Crowder to Blair
Dirk Nowitzki hustles for the loose ball and passes to Jae Crowder who finds DeJuan Blair for the layup.
|Corey Brewer, F||33||13||3||1||0||3||3||0||1||0||6||5-8||3-5||0-0|
|Kevin Love, F||35||21||2||0||1||11||8||3||1||1||12||6-14||2-5||7-11|
|Nikola Pekovic, C||31||21||0||0||0||9||4||5||2||2||-4||10-13||0-0||1-2|
|Kevin Martin, G||36||27||3||0||1||1||1||0||2||3||-4||7-14||3-6||10-11|
|Ricky Rubio, G||32||12||7||2||0||2||2||0||1||0||-2||4-12||1-5||3-3|
|Jose Juan Barea||15||6||6||1||0||4||4||0||3||0||8||2-5||2-4||0-0|
|Luc Mbah a Moute||26||4||1||0||2||7||3||4||3||1||10||2-5||0-0||0-3|
|Shawn Marion, F||33||6||3||1||2||2||1||1||3||4||-7||3-11||0-4||0-0|
|Dirk Nowitzki, F||32||23||6||1||0||5||5||0||2||3||-6||10-13||1-1||2-2|
|Samuel Dalembert, C||25||12||0||0||1||7||4||3||1||3||-5||6-7||0-0||0-2|
|Monta Ellis, G||36||26||6||2||0||6||4||2||2||2||-8||9-15||3-5||5-5|
|Gal Mekel, G||26||6||7||0||0||2||1||1||1||1||7||3-12||0-3||0-0|
DALLAS — After suffering perhaps their most disappointing loss of the season, the Dallas Mavericks don’t have to wait long to spit that sour taste out of their mouths.
Relinquishing a 17-point lead before falling to an 88-87 loss Friday night in Atlanta, the Mavericks (10-7) slipped to 2-6 on the road. One night later, however, the scene shifts to American Airlines Center as the Mavs look to avenge a 116-108 road loss on Nov. 8 to the Minnesota Timberwolves while improving to 9-1 at home.
“It’s a terrible loss,” 11-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki said of Friday night’s defeat. “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 (Saturday). 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.”
“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 added while shifting his focus from Friday’s loss to the matchup 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.”
Although it was a tough lesson to learn, the Mavs found out just how valuable starting point guard Jose Calderon is to the team after finishing the night without their floor general due to a right ankle injury.
With Calderon stroking the hot hand while scoring 16 points on 5-of-11 shooting and 4-of-7 from 3-point range, the Mavs jumped out to a double-digit advantage. However, with Calderon in the locker room most of the second half while having his injured ankle X-rayed and examined, things began to fall apart for the Mavs as the Atlanta team rallied on its home floor.
“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.”
Unfortunately for the Mavs no one would step up, falling to a defeat on Al Horford’s jumper with 4.2 seconds left before sixth man Vince Carter’s 20-footer misfired in the final ticks. Now, with Calderon’s status for Saturday’s showdown uncertain, the Mavs will try to get back on track at home.
But if the Mavs are going to respond from three losses in their last four games then it will take a better defensive effort on Minnesota power forward Kevin Love the second go-round.
Love tallied up 32 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists in that meeting earlier in the month to lift the Timberwolves (8-9) to the win. And despite also allowing sharpshooter Kevin Martin to explode for 32 points, Carlisle and the Mavs know they’ll have their hands full with the former UCLA standout inside.
“[Love] is a very good player, and he’s a guy that causes problems. You know, he creates difficult situations, and his two step-back threes that he hit in the game were big shots,” Carlisle recalled of that early-season loss in Minnesota.
Still, the Mavericks will have plenty to correct while trying to split their sixth back-to-back in the month of November, after getting outshot by the Hawks, 42.5 percent to 37.7 percent, in addition to allowing Atlanta to finish the night 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.
All of which must be corrected if the Mavs are to treat their hometown fans to a show against a well-rested Minnesota team that hasn’t played since Wednesday but enters the night on a three-game losing skid.
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.