Mavs Wounded But Winners Over Rockets
The Dallas Mavericks have scoring answers, or at least they did Friday in a 111-100 victory over the visiting rivals from Houston. It's been since Jan. 2 at Boston (as Coop notes) that Dallas scored 110-plus ... but when the Mavs do that, they are 14-1.
A bunch of Mavs made that happen here. Devin Harris scored 17 points. Al-Farouq Aminu keeps earning minutes as he set personal season-highs with 17 points (12 rebounds). Rajon Rondo scored 13. Chandler Parsons scored 13. Charlie Villanueva made all three of his 3-pointers and finished with 13. Dirk Nowitzki had 12, as did Monta Ellis. Tyson Chandler had 10 (with 14 rebounds).
That's offensive balance, the Mavericks extending a franchise record by having eight players in double-figures for the fourth time this season. That makes for lots of "Dirkie'' candidates, with AFA as a likely winner.
"It's great to see a guy like that have success,'' coach Rick Carlisle said, "because he's working hard at it. ... Farouq was tremendous. Lately, he’s been one of our best plus/minus guys. He gives us a presence on the boards. You can see his shooting gets better every game, and he takes the challenge ... He’s doing a terrific job. With Parsons tweaking his ankle and Dirk (hurting his arm) we really needed Farouq to have a huge game and he did.”
But also "balanced'' are a series of injury issues, as Rick notes, as the 37-20 Mavs continue to joust their way towards a top-four seed in the West. Parsons has an ankle problem and is wearing a boot as we write this. Charlie V left with a sprained left ankle. Rondo is still recovering from a broken face. Ellis is clearly struggling through a hip injury. Nowitzki needed time in the locker room with a right arm injury before returning.
“We all know If I can’t shoot, I’m pretty useless out there,'' said Dirk, a bit too harshly. "I just tried to grind it out and help the team."
Toss into this mix Dallas' defensive work, which is in part attributable to Rondo, and the bounce-back on the second night of a B-2-B (a loss at Oklahoma City) and this should be a feel-good time ... except the battered Mavs are too wobbly to feel too good.
The pluses included a 20-point fourth-quarter lead, making James Harden work (and whine) for his 26, and the promise of Amare Stoudemire making his debut Sunday at the AAC against Charlotte. The minuses included that 20-point deficit shrinking to five before Dallas was able to seal the deal.
“Last night (at OKC) was a poor performance, and our guys knew it,'' Carlisle said. "We knew a lot of tonight was going to be about keeping our poise. It’s a heated rivalry. They’ve got some guys that are instigators, and I thought we held up well, kept it together and stayed aggressive.”
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