Mavs Power Points: Dallas 101, Kings 78
Want some sandpaper-rough proof that Dirk needed this break from playing in Thursday's 101-78 win at Sacto? In his last eight fourth quarters, Nowitzki is averaging 3.4 points on 33.3-percent shooting and 9.1 percent from three-point range.
Want some butter-smooth proof that Dallas had front-courters to, with Dirk resting on the bench in sweats, give Dallas much needed second-night-of-a-road-back-to-back pep-in-step?
We give you the starting pairing of Tyson Chandler and Al-Farouq Aminu.
TY followed up Wednesday's fascinatingly disappointing loss at Golden State (where he had 21/17) with a double-double by halftime here and a 16/16 before going to the bench in celebration. His work inside kept Boogie (23/11) from going completely nuts (in a basketball sense, not a psychological sense) and Chandler (photo SacBee) is now on a six-game role during which he's averaging nearly 14 points and 14 rebounds per game.
"He's got a motor unlike any big guy I've ever seen," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. "He's got tremendous pride and he's really into winning. The combination of those things, plus he's got the ability and the skills, just makes him a terrific player. He's as important as any guy we've got. We've got a lot of important players. He's kind of the heartbeat of our team in a lot of ways."
The Chief, Aminu, started here -- an idea we examined yesterday in our Premium Mavs Coverage (though we're thinking more long-term and as a way to better use Monta as a sixth man) -- and he did plenty to cause Gay frustration, serve as a secondary rim-protector and provide Dallas with a wake-up call during what was otherwise a somewhat sleepy game.
Aminu (photo USAToday) didn't pile up hugely impressive numbers against the 17-31 Kings ... though he did fill the stat sheet with two points, four rebounds, two steals, an assist and three blocks. But he set the tone, and if Rick keeps giving him minutes, we bet he keeps doing what he's done in his last six, when he is averaging in the range of nine points, seven rebounds, three steals, two blocks and 50-percent shooting.
"Aminu brought the energy to the starting lineup on defense and it helped a lot,” said JJ Barea, who himself started at the point and scored 15, as did his backup Devin Harris.
Again, the tandem of "TY and The Chief'' wasn't all about numbers. It was about giving Dirk Nowitzki something to cheer about: a pep-in-step victory for the Dallas Mavericks.
“Our balance all around was really good, and it needed to be without Dirk,'' Carlisle said. "We had strong point-guard play, we had great play at the wings, our big guys battled all night, and we just had really even contributions from top to bottom.''
Yup. Everybody who dressed played. Most everybody played well. So no Dirk and no Rondo (and as we work toward official word on the extent of his facial injuries) ... But you've still got some variety in your candidates for who deserves "The Dirkie.'' Vote for your Player of the Game here on DB.com Boards!
“I was just taking my time,'' said Monta Ellis (photo USAToday). "I wasn’t trying to press anything. We could get anything we wanted, but I was just reading the defense. When they stepped up, I was able to find the open guy. When they went under, I was able to hit the shot. And my shot was just going in at the time.”
Ellis -- getting "anything he wanted'' -- scored 21 points on 9-of-16 shooting with six assists.
As the score indicates, the Mavs dominated the Kings. It was just the opposite of what happened the night before to the Mavs. (At least post-first-quarter.) The Kings did edge the Mavs in free-throw shooting 77.3 percent to 70 percent, for what little that's worth, but the Mavs dominated from the field. Overall, the Mavs shot 42.7 percent to the Kings 36.7 percent and shot 35.3 percent from downtown to a putrid 14.3 perfect for the Kings.
Any time a team scores 78 points, it means the opposition really put together a solid defensive performance. There was no denying that with the Mavs here. They forced the Kings into 17 turnovers and stole the ball nine times. The Mavs were edged by the Kings, 49-48, in the rebounding department -- with one of the greatest of all time, Bill Russell in the house -- but that's close enough against a team with Cousins, who can be so dominant in that department.
It was interesting to see how Carlisle handled the playing time here. Of the top five minutes played, only three were starters, with J.J. Barea leading the way with nearly 32 minutes and Monta not far behind with 31 minutes, and Tyson Chandler had a little over 29 minutes. The next two were bench players, Richard Jefferson and Charlie V, logging 29 and 25 minutes, respectively. Chandler Parsons played 25 minutes and Al-Farouq Aminu, who replaced Dirk in the lineup, played 22 minutes.
Everybody else got some playing time in displaying the depth on the team.
"It was a game we had to get. (Wednesday at Golden State) was a really tough loss. We really wanted to bounce back and we did." - Coach Rick Carlisle of his Mavs, who are now 34-18, bunched just 1.5 games out of third in the West and coming home for a trio of games before the All-Star Break.
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