Final: Cavaliers 110, Mavs 107
Box Score | Highlights
Behind the Box Score
The Mavericks built a giant wall in the paint and would not let the Cavs through. Midway through the third quarter, Dallas had allowed Cleveland to move the ball into the lane on just 22 of their 59 possessions, an incredibly strong defensive performance. The Cavs’ roster is littered with shooters, but as we’ve seen time and time again this season, shooting is much easier when you can collapse the defense first, as it often leaves a spot-up guy wide-open from deep.
Zaza Pachulia recorded his 20th double-double of the season. Tyson Chandler had 31 such games last season, but otherwise Pachulia’s total of 20 is the most of any Maverick since Dirk Nowitzki had 26 during the 2008-09 season. Basketball-Reference tracks double-doubles as far back as the 1985-86 season, and Roy Tarpley’s 43 is the highest of any player on the team during that time.
It’s still a treat getting to watch Dirk Nowitzki play basketball.
After staying quiet for most of the night, Wesley Matthews hit back-to-back threes in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter to give Dallas a 91-89 lead after the club trailed 89-85. Matthews has a penchant for hitting big shots, and tonight was no exception. Then, after a pair of Kyrie Irving free throws tied it at 91, Matthews drove the lane and earned a trip to the charity stripe himself, hitting both to put Dallas back in front 93-91. You’ve got to love a player that isn’t afraid of big moments, no matter how he’d been shooting earlier in the evening.
This might have been Chandler Parsons’ best game of the season. The small forward was dialed in from the opening tip, hitting a pair of three-pointers in the opening frame and impacting the game on both ends all night long. He finished with a season-high 25 points. As he continues to work his way back into his old role as a playmaker on this team, these kinds of night will come more often. Patience is a virtue, of course, any time a key player is coming back from an injury as significant as the one he suffered. But the light at the end of that tunnel is seemingly growing brighter every day.
The Mavs got off to a terrific start in the first quarter, taking a 23-7 lead. However, Cleveland immediately made a comeback, scoring 15 straight points to shrink the Mavs’ lead to 23-22. Chandler Parsons and Dirk Nowitzki combined to hit all seven of their field goal attempts in the frame, including three three-pointers. Starting hot has been a constant goal of Rick Carlisle’s this season, and the Mavericks were able to do that tonight.
Dallas has been one of the best teams all season long in terms of scoring efficiency in baseline out of bounds plays (BLOBs). Heading into this one, the Mavs ranked second in the league in points per possession on such plays, at 1.092. Pretty frequently you’ll see a Maverick wide-open all of a sudden under the basket. One such play happened in the third quarter for Parsons, who caught an alley-oop lob for a dunk. It was one of the most well-executed plays Dallas has run all season. Carlisle is a genius with the clipboard.
The Mavs (22-17) play the Oklahoma City Thunder (27-12) Wednesday at Cheseapeake Energy Arena. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. Central.