The Mavericks rolled Saturday night in Dallas, winning 106-93. Brandan Wright returned from a shoulder injury to play his first game and led the Mavs with 19 points on 9 of 10 shooting. Vince Carter also came alive with 15 points, 9 assists and 6 rebounds. John Henson led the Bucks with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Dallas played without Dirk Nowitzki and coach Rick Carlisle as each missed the game with an illness.
The first quarter began with Dallas trading baskets with Brandon Knight. Jose Calderon kept Dallas alive early, hitting two of his four threes in the quarter. Brandan Wright entered the game for the first time this season and had a huge impact, scoring repeatedly in pick and rolls and catch and shoot situations. Vince Carter looked like last year's Vince for the first time weeks, hitting shots, and making good decisions out of the pick and roll. Though Knight scored at will in the first quarter, the Bucks were unable to hang with Dallas as the Mavs climbed out to a 38-26 lead. Dallas shot 6 of 10 from deep in the first, led by Calderon's 12 points off 4 of 5 shooting from beyond the arc.
The offensive pace didn't hold in the second quarter as both teams struggled to score at times. Milwaukee insisted on force feeding John Henson, who was unable to convert often. Dallas kept pushing the pace, but were not able to convert numerous fast break and rim opportunities. Calderon and Wright continued to lead Dallas offensively; Calderon scored a lay up and a jumper in the period, while Wright put in two more baskets to give him 11 points and 4 rebounds in just under 10 minutes of action. The Mavericks closed out the quarter with a 7-0 run to give them a 59-41 lead at halftime.
The third saw the game get out of hand quickly. Though not quite as prolific as the first quarter, Dallas scored 34 points in the third. DeJuan Blair, Wright, and Vince Carter led Dallas, with the offense clicking on all cylinders. Wayne Ellington even had a small impact, connecting on a three pointer and a reverse lay in. Though all of Dallas played well, Vince Carter was the surprising driving force. His passing became infectious, with Dallas pushing the lead out to 32 points by the end of the quarter, 93-61.
The fourth went about how you'd expect, with Dallas clearing the rest of its bench and the scoring pace slowing considerably. The Bucks made a massive 4th quarter run to make the final score respectable, but Dallas built too large of a lead to overcome. Dallas scored only 9 points in the period as the end of the bench failed to keep up any sense of offensive execution. Not the best ending to the game, but worse things have happened.
- It's hard to read too much into this game because the Bucks are terrible. That said, it was great to see the team rolling, at least through the first three quarters.
- I like Shane Larkin. He's going to have a solid career as a change of pace guard. But Giannis Antetokounmpo is a phenom. He's young and still growing, which is so interesting to me. He's also fearless. He was the only fun or interesting thing about the Bucks. I know a lot of other people like Larkin, but we're going to regret passing up on him at 13.
- I have so much to say about Wright, but I have a feeling we'll be talking about him a ton on the site next week and beyond. So glad to have him back. He and Blair make for such an interesting center duo. His ability to finish and take smart shots is game-changing for Dallas. It gives Dallas yet another option for scoring. This team is going to be so fun to watch, no matter how the season ends up.
- Vince Carter is alive! What an excellent game from him and he needed it. We've been hard on Vince here because he's been terrible, but it's wonderful to see him succeed. He and Wright or Blair make such interesting pick and roll situations for the Dallas offense.
- Shawn Marion is a war horse. Big night from him and it could've been bigger had he finished more of his chances at the rim.
- O.J. Mayo had a terrible game. I'd like to make fun of him, but his grandmother passed away last night, so maybe his mind was in other places.
- Monta had a quiet game, Dirk was out, Dallas won big. That's pretty awesome if you ask me.
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