The Dallas Mavericks' hot shooting streak continued Tuesday night against Orlando, as the Mavs avenged a loss to the Magic less than two weeks ago behind Wesley Matthews' 21 points for a 121-108 win at the American Airlines Center.
Matthews' 8-for-12 night — including a 4-for-5 clip from the 3-point line — fueled a 55 percent shooting night for the Mavs (33-28), who are now 4-1 on this homestand going into the finale against Sacramento Thursday night.
The Mavs have scored 120 points in all four of their victories during the homestand, marking their four highest-scoring games of the season. It erases the taste of a forgettable stretch from Jan. 22 to Feb. 19 when the Mavs went 4-8.
The win allows the Mavs to remain in a sixth-place tie with Portland in the Western Conference, as the Trail Blazers soundly beat the New York Knicks Tuesday. If the season ended today the Mavs would be the No. 6 seed by virtue of tiebreaker. The Mavs have the toughest remaining schedule of the teams vying for the final four playoff berths in the West, a stretch that will include 11 road games, 13 opponents currently over .500 and opponents with a combined win percentage of .552.
The Mavs started the post-All-Star Break schedule with a stunning 110-104 loss to the Magic in Orlando, a game where they fell hopelessly behind only to come back, force overtime and lose. The Mavs were determined to not let it happen again Tuesday night, but early the Mavs were behind, 18-10, midway through the first quarter.
Then Matthews, Chandler Parsons and the rest of the Mavericks turned it on. The Mavs put together a 23-5 run to end the first quarter and take a 35-27 first-quarter lead. (Speaking of Parsons: If you want the details of the max contract the Mavs and many other teams have always planned on giving him this summer, check out D-Lord and Fish's 93,895,000 Premium details here.)
From there the Mavericks never let up.
"We were moving the ball, passing and driving until we got a good shot," said guard J.J. Barea, who pitched in 17 points off the bench. "It worked out well tonight."
Barea was one of five Mavs in double figures. Along with he and Matthews, Parsons (17 points), Dirk Nowitzki (19 points) and Zaza Pachulia (17 points and a team-high 10 rebounds for a double-double) helped keep the Mavs' offense humming. That include a 13-0 run to start the third quarter that basically put the game away.
"The start to the second half was the key to the game," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said.
Matthews continued his fine play on the homestand. His 21 points tied his high game of the homestand, represented his fifth straight game in double figures and he needed just 33 minutes to make that impact. In fact, all of the Mavs' starters logged 33 minutes or fewer, with Nowitzki getting another solid break with a 27-minute night. (Is Wes the guy who gets your "Dirkie'' vote? Get involved here!)
The rest is obviously helpful in the long term, but the template for the last two victories is clearly what the Mavs are looking for.
"We're the kind of team that needs to play this way," Carlisle said. "We don't have one guy to rely on. We need to have five or six guys in double figures each night."