Mavericks vs. Timberwolves
J.J. led the way once again with 21 points as the Mavs knocked off the T-Wolves for their fourth straight win.
Final: Mavs 88, Timberwolves 78
Box Score | Highlights
Behind the Box Score
Dallas held its fourth consecutive opponent below 90 points, tying the team’s third-longest streak in franchise history. The team record is six straight, set during the 2011-12 season.
Wesley Matthews has hit at least four 3-pointers in six of his last eight games, finishing this game with six treys. He’s been on a tear from deep lately.
Another well-earned win for the Mavs, their fourth straight. Dallas is now back above .500 and is firmly planted in the playoff picture, with the result of the Houston/OKC game still in question. The win puts Dallas 1.5 games up on the Rockets with that result still to be decided. Houston comes to town on Wednesday night for what is probably the most meaningful game of the season for both teams. A win would give Dallas a ton of breathing room against the Rockets, pushing the Mavs as much as three games ahead with just four games to play. Meanwhile, a Rockets win would tighten things up out West even more, practically ensuring this thing will come down to the last night of the season. Either way, things are sure to be entertaining, dramatic, and intense. It should be fun.
Zaza Pachulia was the starting center tonight but was pulled four minutes into the first quarter. He didn’t reappear in the first half, and he didn’t begin the second. However, Rick Carlisle placed him back into the game a couple minutes into the third quarter and he played the bulk of the center minutes the rest of the way. Pachulia had a fine performance, giving the Mavs several second chances with offensive rebounds and defending Karl-Anthony Towns well. The center position has been a revolving door for the Mavs these last couple months, but Pachulia has remained engaged and ready to make an impact on the game when his number is called.
The first half came to a sluggish ending, with the score stuck at 41-38 for about four minutes before Ricky Rubio hit a pair of free throws to make it 41-40 Mavs at the break. It was the seventh time this season the Mavericks allowed 40 points or fewer in the opening act, and they won the previous six occurrences. Dallas has been playing very effective defense in the last four games, doing so by controlling the tempo and making it a point to pick up the opposing point guard full-court, which can knock teams off balance offensively.
Just like Salah Mejri keeps an imaginary list of the All-Star-caliber players he blocks — he added Karl-Anthony Towns to that list, by the way — Justin Anderson has an imaginary “WOW!” play quota. He reached that threshold in the first half, throwing down a one-handed put-back dunk off a Dirk Nowitzki miss. Anderson has unreal athleticism, which makes him potentially an effective offensive rebounder. Rick Carlisle said recently he allows Anderson and Dwight Powell to pursue offensive rebounds when it makes sense to, even though Dallas typically only sends the center to the boards on the offensive side of the ball. It’s a good thing Carlisle gives them the green light, too, as those guys have made some big-time plays in those situations. Anderson would later deny Gorgui Dieng point-blank at the rim, one of his nicer blocks of the year.
The Mavs (39-38) play the Houston Rockets (37-39) Wednesday at American Airlines Center. Tip-off is at 8:30 p.m. Central.