Mavs Power Points: Have-Nots Get Nothing
The Dallas Mavericks recorded an easy 98-75 win at Minnesota on Wednesday, continuing their venture into the second half of this NBA season with a third straight win.
And really, this is the story of a trio of wins, and a trio of lessons learned.
Last Friday with Denver in town. The second game of a home-and-home doubleheader of sorts, a "resting'' Mavs team having been manhandled in the Mile High City two days earlier. The Mavs vowed to not repeat some of those same mistakes ... and recorded an easy win.
Monday in Memphis: The Mavs very openly discussed among themselves the fact they hadn't defeated a healthy and true West contender all year, and that this meeting needed to be a "playoff-level statement.'' The Mavs recorded another win - an idea way to begin the second half of the season -- and indeed sent a signal regarding what this team might look like in the postseason.
And then Wednesday, and another theme: No Letdown. Dirk put voice to that idea immediately after the game in Memphis, and with the exception of a brief opening-game hiccup, Dallas was in control here all the way, a blowout over a now-7-34 Timberwolves team in which the Mavs could've named their score ... but instead allow so much participation by so many bodies that 13 guys scored.
Rajon Rondo gave Dallas a fina all-around floor game; he was +16 when he was in the game ... and a lot of that was his work on Mo Williams, who'd scored 52 points in a game a couple of games back. Williams was 2-of-12 for five points.
"I didn't want him to score 50,'' Rondo said. "Simple as that.''
Then there was something not so simple that Rondo did ...
But in addition to the sizzle there had to be some steak. In that regard, let's cite Tyson Chandler, the 33-year-old center who is helping Dallas survive on the boards (Dallas has tied or won the rebounding battle in all three of these recent wins) and is also taking it to the floor -- literally.
When TY gave way to the stunning contributions of rookie big Dwight Powell (who made Pek work on the offensive end while giving the Mavs six points and 10 rebounds), he spent time coaching Powell from the bench. But even midway through the fourth, with Dallas nursing a 23-point lead, Chandler found himself back in the game, in full-court pursuit of a loose ball, diving to the floor and across the baseline for a save.
Said Rick Carlisle: "You've got to want it bad to win games every night. That's where we're at, and we've got to have a laser-like focus on that."
Steak and sizzle ... the Mavs once again had it all as they moved to 30-13 and a notch in front of idle Houston for sole possession of fourth in the West.
Chandler Parsons scored 22 points, hitting eight of his first nine shots and eventually, 4-of-6 from the arc. Dirk was 2-4 from the arc (now 11 of his last 23, a good trend) for 16 points. Those were the only two double-figure guys and the Mavs didn't get to the 100-point mark for just the ninth time all year, but don't let the numbers fool you.
"They are," Wolves coach Flip Saunders said, "an offensive juggernaut.''
Dallas shot 51 percent, the depth, balance and unselfishness maybe best symbolized by JJ Barea's 10 assists in 21 minutes. Meanwhile, Rondo and company held the Wolves to 35 percent shooting, because Minnesota is not an offensive juggernaut.
Talk about See what Mavs fans are saying here! the game and about who deserves "The Dirkie'' here on DB.com Boards!
And may I suggest an honorary vote for Shawn Marion, now of the Cavs, who is announcing this will be his final season in the NBA?
"He'll go down as one of the most underrated players in history if you look at his statistics and you look at his success in terms of winning,'' Carlisle said of Trix. "He's a great player."
Marion spent five seasons in Dallas, re-made himself as a player, grew as a person, won a championship here, was wildly entertaining in every possible way and will make Dallas his permanent home.
So here's an honorary vote for Trix!
The Mavericks improved to 16-7 on the road. Atlanta is the only team in the league with more road wins with 17. Ah, just think if the Mavericks were better than 14-6 at home?
Parsons is doing that thinking.
"We have a veteran team (so) crowd is going to get in our head or make us play out of character," Parsons said of Dallas' road success. "(But) I don't understand how we don't play better at home. We have a great crowd, and we need to start protecting our home court."
An opportunity to do so comes Friday at the AAC with a 7 p.m. tip against the talented but struggling Bulls.
"The world we live in in the West,'' Rick Carlisle said, requires "Advanced Citizenship.'' That sounds like something straight out of an Aaron Sorkin script. But we get it.
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