Dirk Carries Mavs Past Timberwolves 93-87
Close losses are, more often than not, more painful than a blowout. After a close loss, you feel like you left something out there that could have made a difference in the outcome, and it can eat at you if you allow it to do so. Luckily, coming off a 96-95 loss at Milwaukee that left a lot to be desired -- a "soft giveaway,'' Zaza and DB.com called it -- the NBA schedule forces a quick turnaround.
For Dirk and the Mavs, heading to Minnesota to face the 12-25 Timberwolves was just what the doctor ordered.
After a slow start, the Mavs got things going in the second quarter thanks to Nowitzki’s 14 first-half points, putting the Mavs on his back early, and carrying them for a good portion of the game. Dirk would finish things up with 29 points and seven rebounds on 54.5 percent from the field. Dallas fans are accustomed to seeing this kind of thing from Dirk, but at 37 years old, it just makes it that much more special. ... as the creativity continues.
And yeah, the all-time best Mav is still this year's best Mav.
The Mavs shot 47 percent from the field as a team, while shooting just 30 percent from three-point range. Dallas also won the rebounding battle by a mark of 39-38 over the Timberwolves, thanks in part to 11 rebounds by Hotel Zaza, who had yet another double-double by halftime. Dirk is special. Zaza's been special. All-Star voters, what say you?
"He deserves it,'' Dirk said. "He told every Georgian there is at home to get online and vote for him."
Zaza vs. Pek was a wrasslin' match of sorts. But Zaza also showed sweet touch ...
And that sort of craftsmanship overtook the Timberwolves' talented youth, which flashed its brilliance at some points, making a late push in the fourth quarter. As a team however, Minnesota ultimately struggled on the offensive end, shooting just 42 percent for the game. Andrew Wiggins led the way for Minnesota with 21 points and seven boards on eight for 19 shooting. Ricky Rubio also did his best to contribute on the offensive end, scoring 12 points to go with seven rebounds and eight assists.
Dallas finally took control of the game late in the third quarter after a 12-1 run that was capped off by a buzzer-beating jump shot from the right baseline by former T-Wolves guard J.J. Barea, giving the Mavs a 13-point lead heading into the fourth.
In the end, despite average shooting, and a myriad of turnovers, the veteran Mavs outlasted the young T-Wolves en route to this 93-87 win at the Target Center, right down the street from where the Vikings lost their playoff game to the Seahawks thanks to a FG miss to close the game. A dark mood in Minny, indeed.
Meanwhile, for Dallas? When it comes down to it, the Mavs could not afford to lose to a team like Minnesota. The West is too deep and too difficult to drop a game like this one to a club that for the last 25 outings or so has matched Philly in ineptitude ... and with a brutal five-game stretch beginning on Tuesday, the Mavs needed to make this game count, and that’s what they did. ... largely due to The UberMan, who has now scored 20-plus in four straight and is surely your leading candidate for "The Dirkie.'' (But you vote and talk it over here at DB.com Boards!)
“It was classic Dirk, hitting shots from everywhere and making big shots and big plays,'' Deron Williams said. "That’s why he’s one of the greatest.”