1. Looking to shake off a two-game losing streak to start 2016, The Mavs welcomed the Rondo-less Sacramento Kings into the American Airlines Center. In their previous meeting, the Kings dominated Dallas 112-98 behind 31 points from Boogie Cousins. But here? No Rajon, as he was ruled out due to a lack of spine. And yet all sorts of trouble for the Mavs, who have historically dominated Sacto here at the AAC but this time needed a serious of double-OT miracles -- highlighted, of course, by Deron Williams' away-from-the-basket, catch-pump-fade-and-shoot 3 at the buzzer -- to capture a thrilling 117-116 win.
“I definitely dreamed about playing for the Mavericks when I was growing up,'' said Deron, once upon a time a coveted free agent for Dallas but this year a DFW product and a reclamation project. "It’s definitely a dream come true right now.”
2. Rondo was conspicuously absent from his first return to the AAC since his dramatic fallout with the Mavs back in April. Whether he was actually feeling the effects of an injury or lacking in the spine department, Mavs fans will now have to wait until March to get revenge on the hemmorhoidal human who gave up on them in last year's playoffs.
Or you can hate him now. Either way.
3. Meanwhile for the Mavs, Deron was inserted back into the starting lineup in place of J.J Barea on Tuesday. Make no mistake about it, the Mavs probably do not have a four-game win streak to end the month of December without Barea, but this is D-Will’s team and he is going to be the starter when he is healthy.
4. Speaking of Barea, he wont go unrewarded for the impact he had over the last few games. J.J. has always thrived coming off of the bench for the Mavs, and he will have that opportunity again. ... though sometimes the green light shines a little too green, you know?
5. At the end of the first quarter, the Mavs held a 27-24 lead over the Kings, thanks to a balanced effort from the Mavs offense led by Wes Matthews’ six points. The Mavs also outrebounded the Kings 16-9, with Zaza Pachulia pulling down seven boards in the first quarter alone.
6. JaVale McGee had an instant impact on the first half of this game. In his first nine minutes of action, McGee posted seven points, five rebounds, two steals, and two blocks; a very impressive stat line for any player. McGee would end the game with 13 points and 11 rebounds in 17 minutes of play, securing his first double-double since April 15th, 2013 against the Milwaukee Bucks.
“That’s what I’m here for,'' McGee said. "I’m here to bring energy, to dunk the ball, get everybody into it, block some shots and be a defensive presence. And I felt like tonight I got to do that.”
7. After a low-scoring second quarter, the Mavs extended their lead to six, holding a 49-43 lead heading into the locker room. Dirk led all Mavs in scoring with 10 points, while D-Will posted nine points of his own. The Mavs had some trouble inside in the first half ,however, with Boogie Cousins and Quincy Acy combining for 21 points.
8. Raging hemorrhoid for a point guard aside, the 14-21 Kings are a much more talented team than their record indicates. They are athletic on the wings with Rudy Gay and Ben McLemore, and have one of most talented (and maybe the best) centers in the NBA in Boogie Cousins. Sacramento’s biggest issue this season has been consistency, and if they could find some, they would have a chance to make some noise in the Western Conference. ... except ... as long as Rondo is part of their foundation we will not trust them to do so and we will not root for him to do so.
9. Cousins in particular has been unconscious lately. In the last four games including this one, he has averaged 30.3 points and 14 rebounds per game, while shooting 50 percent from the field. He is even shooting 36 percent from three in those games, which is something he has added to he repertoire this season. Make no mistake, he is dominant; and he might be the best center in the Western Conference, maybe in the league.
10. Wes Matthews was on his game, hitting seven of 13 from the floor for 20 points. If he’s firing on all cylinders, the Mavs are a very tough team to beat. Matthews also hit a big and one layup late, putting Dallas up 94-90 with 48 seconds to go in the game.
11. Dallas ended the third quarter with a 78-70 lead thanks in large part to the play of Javale McGee. Dallas held the rebounding edge over the Kings 40-27 as well, which included 11 offensive rebounds for the Mavs.
12. Dirk had an off night early, but rebounded late shooting 42 percent from the field and scoring 23 points. Dirk has been able to work through tough nights in the past however, and he was able to hit a couple of big shots late to keep Dallas from losing control of the game.
The UberMan was also able to hit the front of the rim on one play.
13. The Mavs left some points at the free-throw line in this one, shooting just 65 percent as a team from the charity stripe. Free-throw shooting is usually one of the Mavs biggest assets, but it put them in a bad spot here, especially in the fourth quarter and overtime periods.
14. The Mavs had a really tough time stopping Rudy Gay. The versatile swingman had 31 points on 13-of-20 shooting. He’s a tough matchup on the perimeter, even for a defender like Wes Matthews. ... as a shooter or as a stare-down competitor.
15. Chandler Parsons left the game in the second half due to injury. We will report more information as it becomes available, but CP was unable to return to the game after he was hip-checked by Boogie.
Or, as Rick phrased it: “(Parsons) had to leave the game and couldn’t return because he got hipped in his knee on one of Cousins’ illegal screens.”
16. The fourth quarter was owned by the Kings, who dug themselves out of an eight-point hole to force overtime on a Boogie Cousins layup at the end of regulation. The Mavs made clutch shots. And the Mavs win close games (a lot of them.) But they just didn’t have an answer for the dominant big man all night long, and maybe almost nobody does.
17. In the end, this was just a wild back-and-forth affair, in which Dallas emotionally powered its way to victory. With everything going against the Mavs as the second overtime was coming to a close, the Mavs dug deep and refused to lose.
The Dirkie/Player of the game: Deron Williams. In his return to the starting lineup, Williams scored 25 points, including the game-winner as time expired in double OT. But this is a Mavs Democracy, so head over to DB.com Boards and give us your choice for the Dirkie!
Stat(s) of the night: The Big Guns. The Mavs trifecta of Matthews, Dirk and D-Will combined to score 68 points in this game, and willed the Mavs back from certain defeat in the second OT. Well, OK, they "D-Will'ed'' the Mavs back.
This game was over when... D-Will hit a buzzer-beating three from the left corner to win the game in double overtime. Duh.
Should have seen coming... Boogie. Just another day at the office for Boogie Cousins with 35 points, 17 boards, and six steals… He is elite. Now, he also chalked up enough turnovers to create an oddball triple-double. But in his defense, this is a big with his hands on the ball so often ... and here, Dallas defenders converging on him. So much good here, including classy comments in the postgame about the outcome.
Said Cousins: “I think it was an incredible game. Both teams left it on the floor. We don’t want to make any excuses. Of course we are shorthanded, but we had plenty of opportunities to win the game tonight. Big shots from them, big shots from us, it was just whoever made the biggest shot. It was a good game, it was a fun game.”
Mavsellaneous: Had a nice visit with friend-of-DB.com Kings staffer Nancy Lieberman. This isn't just a "woman in a man's world''; Nancy represents all that is good about the sport. ... Maybe the key to this win: When Sacto made mistakes, Dallas took immediate advantage, certainly in the late-going. ... The entire Mavs and Kings Quoteboard -- featuring D-Will's highlight reel -- is here. ... We mentioned "clutch'' above. Mavs.com's Bobby Karalla notes that Dallas is an NBA-best 46.8 percent from the field in the clutch. Oh, he adds that the Mavs are 18-0 this season when leading after three quarters, and were 36-2 in such situations last year.
Couldn't see coming... Javale McGee. This was his best game as a Mav by far, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
Best decision: Playing Javale McGee over Dwight Powell. The Mavs needed to throw something different out there against Boogie Cousins, and JaVale responded, putting on his best performance as a Maverick to date.
Rick Carlisle said the day before the game that he might shake things up. There weren't huge changes there. But Powell seems slightly out of favor at the moment and yet to our eyes, the very coachable kid is responding in the right way. Last night, he joined Zaza as the first two Mavs warming up on the floor, way before gametime ... with a lot of Dwight's time spent in consultation with coaches. We think he'll be OK.
What's next?: The Mavs have a quick turnaround, as they head back to New Orleans to take on the Pelicans for the fourth and final time this season at 7pm tonight. Is Deron OK after being dogpiled? What's CP's status? Hey, Dirk, could you use a break after going for 42 minutes here?
The Final Word: "We'll see how I feel,'' he said. "We already lost twice to New Orleans, so it's a game we'd love to have. But me as a competitor, I feel like that about every game. I want to be out there or be available for the guys if they need me. Get a little massage in the morning after our meeting and just see how I feel."
We all could also use a massage. But after this game? Mavs fans already know how they feel.