J.J. Barea scored a season and game-high 19 points off the bench and the Dallas Mavericks beat the Philadelphia 76ers 99-90 on Friday night for their third straight victory. With an "off-night" for Dirk Nowitzki and no Caron Butler for the 2nd straight night, the rest of the Mavericks picked up the slack with six Mavericks scoring in double figures.
Barea led the charge, mainly in the 4th quarter where the game was still in doubt. Dallas had a 78-75 lead entering the final frame and Barea took control of the game and weaved his way through the 76ers defense and had his way with them. Barea made consecutive driving layups and that lead to an 85-77 lead and the Mavericks never looked back.
"His (Barea) penetration was key," said Rick Carlisle. "His minutes were vital to us winning the game because he made a lot of positive things happen. He hit big shots." If there is a second time that Barea leads the team in scoring, that will equal the amount of times he lead the Mavericks in scoring last season.
The game against Philadelphia marked the third consecutive game where Barea scored in double figures. The backup point guard attributed the results to taking a new approach to the game, "Well I’m settling down a little bit and getting my rhythm. I was thinking too much when I was out there playing and then I just started playing my game," said Barea. "I kept being aggressive and relaxed a little bit and my teammates were on me just play your game, just play your game and so that’s what I have been doing and it’s working out."
Barea also gave a lot of credit to Coach Carlisle in regards to the improvement in his overall results, "Before I was just trying to be too perfect out there and I wasn’t thinking about running the plays and giving the ball to people, just thinking too much. Coach (Carlisle) told me to relax and just play my game. He said you’re here in the NBA because you’ve played that way your entire life so that’s what I am doing."
The 4-year guard out of Northeastern has had a very up and down career as his has received more playing time, leading to much criticism and calls for the Mavs to upgrade the backup point guard position. Despite that, J.J. has found his groove and hopefully it can be maintained for a sustained period of time.
- Jason Kidd recorded his 11,000th career assist on an alley-oop pass to Tyson Chandler at the 9:51 mark of the 1st quarter. Kidd reflected on the pass saying, "It was nice going with a pass I enjoy throwing a lot. Tyson came up with the catch but he has the hardest part, all of the guys who put the ball in for me, they have the hardest part and that's puttting the ball in the basket." And what was Kidd going to do to celebrate the milestone, "I'm going to go to bed early."
-Dallas also took the dust off the old three-guard lineup (Barea, Jason Kidd and Jason Terry). Entering at the 6:46 mark of the 4th quarter, the line-up essentially finished the game off.
- The victory marked the 6th consecutive home victory over Philadelphia as well as 8 out of the last 9.
- If the Mavericks bench is doing well, it usually leads to a victory. The Mavericks are now 3-0 early in the season when they have two or more players off the bench reaching double figures. Barea led with 19 points and Jason Terry chipped in 13 points.
- "Chan-Wood" (Tyson Chandler and Brendan Haywood) collectively pulled in 17 points and 29 rebounds, 12 on the offensive side of the court. Chandler recorded his second double-double of the young season (11 points and 12 rebounds). Haywood had a team high 17 rebounds in 22 minutes, 20 rebounds his his career-high mark in rebounding. The Mavericks appear to be hitting their groove at the center position and that is something we will break down this weekend on MMB, stay tuned.