Game 37: Mavs at Pelicans

GAME RECAP: Mavericks 128, Pelicans 120

Dennis Smith Jr. notches a triple-double with 21 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists as the Mavericks get the win over the Pelicans, 128-120.

Game 55: Mavs vs. Celtics

Highlights: Mavs vs. Celtics

Check out all the top plays from Monday night's game against the Boston Celtics.

Veteran guard J.J. Barea has stepped up when Mavs have needed him most

DALLAS — With the lineup depleted by injuries and his team going through a sluggish stretch, veteran guard J.J. Barea has stepped up when the Dallas Mavericks have needed him most during the last two games.

Playing without small forward Chandler Parsons following arthroscopic surgery to address an injury to his right medial meniscus last Friday, the Mavericks (37-38) were admittedly lacking playmaking skills and offensive versatility while dropping the first three outings of a four-game road trip. The Mavs were then further handicapped when three-time All-Star point guard Deron Williams suffered a left groin and abdominal strain to force him out of the lineup for the last four games. That created more playing time for Barea, who has willingly put the team on his back while leading the Mavericks to consecutive wins over Denver and New York to remain afloat in the Western Conference playoff race.

“He’s always aggressive and he has an approach that’s consistent, so he gives himself a chance to be successful out there,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said while praising Barea’s recent play. “I think the other reason that he’s having significant success in these last two games is his defensive intensity is up a notch. He’s picking guys up fullcourt, he’s being an agitator on defense and making it difficult for the opponent. When he has the impact at both ends, it enhances his game and it enhances our game.”

Scoring a team-high 18 points on 7-of-13 shooting in 26 minutes of work off the bench, Barea also dished out 11 assists to lead the Mavericks to a 97-88 win Monday in Denver. He followed that up with 26 points on 10 of 18 from the field two nights later, grabbing five rebounds and dishing out seven assists to lift the Mavs to a come-from-behind 91-89 victory Wednesday at home over the Knicks.

In the process, Barea has helped the Mavericks move into a virtual tie with Houston and Utah in the race for the final two playoff spots in the West. And with 13-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki struggling to shoot a combined 9 of 40 from the field in those two games, the undersized guard’s offensive explosion has come at just the right time.

“He’s been a tremendous lift off the bench,” Nowitzki said while praising Barea’s recent contributions. “He’s just looking comfortable like he did earlier a couple of months ago, when he was in a groove and was just making everything. That’s how he’s looking right now. Obviously, everything is set up by his drives. He’s so good getting in there, and guys start to go under (screens) or play him a little more for the drive. And he’s been really in a groove shooting the ball as well, so we needed every single point that he got.

“He’s a little competitor. You know, he’s playing through injuries, he’s always there for us, and he’s giving us a spark. He’s a tough little man. He comes to play for us every night.”

On the season, Barea is averaging 10.4 points, 2.0 rebounds and 4.1 assists an outing in 69 appearances, making 11 starts during his 10th year in the league. Barea is also shooting a career-best 44.3 percent from the field and 38.8 percent from three-point range, which has made the former Northeastern standout an offensive threat on a nightly basis.

The 31-year-old veteran has stepped up his play since the All-Star break, averaging 12.8 points, 2.2 rebounds and 4.5 assists while connecting on 50.2 percent from the field and 45.5 percent from three-point range in his last 12 games. But according to Barea, it’s been the impact he’s made defensively that has sparked the team to back-to-back wins.

“I just stayed the course. I got a good rhythm here the last couple of weeks, and I was just coming in aggressive,” Barea modestly said after Wednesday’s win. “I got a couple of assists that got me going, and I was in a good rhythm and able to help my team as much as I can. And it feels good. It feels good to be out there and to help my team win.

“I think it’s been the whole team. We know we’ve got to play better defense to win some games, and I’m just trying to bother the point guard. You know, whoever brings it up, I’m just making it a little tough for them. I don’t let anybody drive by me or shoot easy shots, and I think it’s working for us.”

Note: The Mavericks will now hit the road once again, traveling to Detroit for Friday’s matchup against the Pistons. Detroit leads the season series 1-0 after handing the Mavs a 102-96 home loss on March 9. The game will tip off at 6:30 p.m. CT, airing locally on Fox Sports Southwest and 103.3 FM ESPN.

The Mavs return to their home floor next Wednesday, hosting the Houston Rockets. Houston leads season series 2-1. The game will tip off at 8:30 p.m. CT, airing nationally on ESPN and locally on Fox Sports Southwest and 103.3 FM ESPN. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by visiting Mavs.com, or by calling (214) 747-MAVS.

baylor

Injury updates presented by Baylor Emergency Medical Centers:

Deron Williams (left groin and abdominal strain) — day-to-day

Chandler Parsons (right knee surgery) — out for the remainder of the season

Jeremy Evans (right shoulder surgery) — out for the remainder of the season

Mavs’ new additions Chandler Parsons, Rajon Rondo spark turnaround after rough patch

DALLAS — After stumbling to five losses in a seven-game stretch, the Dallas Mavericks appear to have turned things around behind the play of two of their prized new additions.

Responding to a 33-point loss to Cleveland last Tuesday in the first game of their five-game homestand, the Mavericks (43-25) have now notched back-to-back wins over two teams fighting for playoff positioning in the ever-changing Western Conference standings. Now, after last Friday’s 129-99 win over the Los Angeles Clippers and Monday’s 119-115 come-from-behind victory against Oklahoma City, the Mavs will try to keep surging in the right direction in a second showdown of the season against the Orlando Magic on Wednesday night.

“We’ve been in these situations before, and I always say we’ve got a veteran and seasoned team and nothing really can affect us,” forward Chandler Parsons proclaimed after the Mavs rallied from down 15 points in the third quarter of Monday’s win.

“You know, we’re very locked in right now,” four-time All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo added. “Orlando is going to come in fired up. It’s a TV game, and we want to give the fans something to cheer about again. We don’t want to have a letdown.”

Since returning from a seven-game hiatus due to a sprained left ankle and bone bruise, Parsons has emerged as a top option for the Mavs on the offensive end of the floor. Leading seven Mavericks in double figures in Friday’s win over the Clippers, Parsons finished with 22 points. He followed that up with a 31-point performance Monday night, leading the way as the Mavs staged a second-half rally.

Parsons will now attempt to carry the Mavericks to a third straight win as they try to replicate a 108-93 road victory back on Jan. 31, when the Orlando native was forced to sit out the game in his hometown due to an illness.

“I’ve just tried to be aggressive. I got some shots to fall early on, and I was able to get in the paint and just make some plays,” Parsons modestly explained after his second-highest scoring outing of the season Monday night. “It was really just a great win, and everybody did a great job getting me involved. Especially Rondo, finding me on the break and finding me for open shots.”

“Obviously, it’s a make-or-miss league, and C.P. has been playing unbelievable,” Rondo said of his teammate’s recent offensive explosion. “C.P. is playing extremely well right now. He’s playing with confidence, he’s keeping his turnovers down, and he’s making plays for his teammates as well in pick-and-rolls.”

Rondo has also excelled in the last two games, earning the praise of Mavs coach Rick Carlisle for his command of the offense.

Despite scoring just four points in Friday’s win, Rondo took charge of the playcalling while dishing out seven assists. He then recorded his first double-double consisting of points and assists since his second game with the Mavs back on Dec. 22, scoring 11 points and dishing out 13 dimes while becoming an extension of Carlisle on the floor.

“I liked everything about the way Rondo played tonight,” Carlisle said following Monday’s win. “He was aggressive. He was attacking the paint and I just really believe we’re going to keep getting better, and I think he’s a big part of us getting better.

“I think he’s just keeping guys focused, and there’s a lot of emotional stuff going on out there. (The Thunder) has got a lot of guys that are physical, and there’s a lot of physical instigation going on in the inside and our guys were getting a little distracted. And he did a great job of keeping our eye on the ball. Guys on our team listen to a guy like that, because he’s been through the wars and he’s been a starting player on a championship team. So, he did a tremendous job tonight.”

But, after losing Rondo just 98 seconds into the last meeting against the Magic (21-47) following a collision with teammate Richard Jefferson that led to an obritial fracture in his left eye and nasal fracture, which caused him to miss six games, the pass-first point guard will certainly look to make up for lost time Wednesday night. And with both Rondo and Parsons playing at a high level, the Mavericks hope to continue to make their playoff push while currently sitting in the fifth spot of the West standings.

Note: Returning to action at American Airlines Center on Wednesday to play the fourth matchup of their five-game homestand, the Mavericks will next host the Orlando Magic. The Mavs lead the season series 1-0 after a 108-93 win in Orlando back on Jan. 31. The game will air nationally on ESPN and locally on Fox Sports Southwest at 7 p.m. CT. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling (214) 747-MAVS (6287) or by visiting Mavs.com.

Injury updates presented by Baylor Emergency Medical Centers:

Al-Farouq Aminu, left shoulder, day-to-day