Mavs Top Pelicans: Power Points
Monta Ellis scored eight of his 20 points in the fourth quarter to help the Dallas Mavericks bust a two-game losing streak and to end the Pelicans run at five straight in a Monday night game that feels like a relief .. especially as it was played without the injured Chandlers.
The starts of the halves was key here.
Rajon Rondo was simply on fire to start the contest. He went 6-of-9 for 13 points early, including converting on his lone 3-point attempt of the night, and finished with 19. With the lackadaisical defense the Mavs were playing early, it was Rondo's aggressiveness and shot-making ability that had them trailing by just one point at the end of the first quarter.
"I thought Rondo played a great all-around game and had a really good floor game,'' said Mavs coach Rick Carlisle.
Richard Jefferson (with a season-best 16 points) led the charge coming out of halftime with the Mavs trailing by three ... then leading by 11. Jefferson contributed with a shot, a couple of free throws, and a 3-pointer as other Mavs such as Dirk and Monta Ellis also pitched in to the 16-2 run.
Said Rick: “We came out of the (halftime) locker room with a lot of fire, a lot of attitude and some real disposition. The bottom line is we’ve got to play an entire 48 that way. ... We were just okay in the first half. In the second half, we knew we needed to pick it up because they’re a team that plays with juice and they do play with attitude. We did a good job in the second half.”
Amar'e Stoudemire seems like he is finally getting on the same page with his teammates and carving out a role for himself on the team. He played a little extensively at 23 minutes but had a solid all-around performance, making six of his nine shots for 14 points, adding four rebounds, a couple of assists, and a couple of steals on the defensive end. Though his role will diminish a little bit in terms of minutes when Tyson returns from the hip injury, he is earning some valuable trust right now.
"It’s taken a little time,'' Amar'e said, "but I’m definitely getting more comfortable offensively. Defensively, as well.''
This was a game the Mavs absolutely needed to have. The upcoming schedule is brutal, to put it nicely. The 40-22 Mavs are about to hit the road on Thursday against Portland, then travel down the coast Friday to take on the West's No. 1 seed in Golden State. With a breather against the Lakers (hopefully) in Sunday, the Mavs return home to face the red-hot Cleveland Cavaliers, then the Clippers, and finally the Thunder. The next four games after that include contests against in-state rival San Antonio and then the Memphis Grizzlies.
“We’ve got to build some character,” Stoudemire said. “We’ve got some tough teams ahead of us. We’ve got to make sure we stay together and keep working.”
In this tough Western Conference, we are about to see what this team is made of.
The Mavs captured two of the three shooting categories in the win, shooting 48.1 percent from the field to the Pelicans 47.3 percent and going 90.9 percent from the line to the Pelicans 81.2 percent. The Pelicans did edge the Mavs in long distance, 47.6 to 37.5 percent.
Probably the number that stood out most didn't come from a starter, but instead recent acquisition Amar'e Stoudemire, who played 23 minutes. Of the starters, Rajon Rondo played 32 minutes, Dirk Nowitzki played a little over 31 minutes, Monta and Jefferson both posted just a little over 33 minutes, and Sarge played 25 minutes in Tyson's spot.
Get more Mavs on DB.com Boards here with the Quoteboard with the voting for "The Dirkie.''
After going small in Saturday's loss to Brooklyn, maybe Sarge --who actually got the start here -- counts as a standout, too.
“Those things are contagious. When guys play good defense, when guys drive, when guys make the extra pass, those are things in the game of basketball that are really contagious.'' -- Richard Jefferson.
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