When all else fails, give the ball to Dirk Nowitzki and let him work. Nowitzki's season-high 42 points secured an 88-84 victory against the Detroit Pistons. The game was eerily similar to their game last week against Chicago, which was also on the first night of a back-to-back, the Mavericks received better results in this match-up.
In what Rick Carlisle called a "playoff style game" due to the slower tempo and necessity to work in the half-court, the Mavericks responded in a game that easily could have gone the other way. "We had some good opportunities in the first half that we just couldn’t cash in on. It was disappointing after getting off to a big lead," said Carlisle. "But games go like this sometimes, and you’ve just got to stay in it. You’ve got to battle; we got down 12 and battled back. I give our guys a lot of credit. It was a slow game, it was the kind of game you had to have patience and discipline to hang in and win. You had to make plays when it counted, and we were able to do it."
The pace of the game was slow and the Mavericks only had 8 turnovers and Detroit scored only 3 points off of those turnovers. "There were very few thin margins for error tonight for both teams," Carlisle said when breaking down the game against the team that gave him his first head coaching opportunity. "It was just a little bit extra down the stretch, being able to get stops and get the crowd into it and execute on offense and we escaped."
Dallas trailed 67-61 in the fourth quarter, but used a 14-3 run beginning at the 9:11 mark to take a 75-70 lead and did enough to maintain the lead. The Mavericks scored 32 points in the fourth quarter, a season-high for fourth quarters, and Caron Butler ignited the offense with his penetration and aggression to start the game. "I think early in the 4th quarter, (Butler) tried to be aggressive and made some good plays for us," said Nowitzki. Butler scored 7 points in the final frame, Nowitzki took care of the scoring load in the middle part of the quarter and then Jason Terry finished the game off for the Mavericks.
The Mavericks have hit a rough stretch where Nowitzki is having to carry the scoring load on his shoulders, Dirk 13-23 from the field while the rest of the team shot 17-55. Should the team be concerned? "There’s somewhat of a concern," Jason Terry said of the offense. "But, it’s still November. It’s still early and guys are still getting comfortable with their roles, knowing when they’re coming in the game and what not. It’s all about flow and rhythm. Do you want to have that flow right now in the first month? You’d like it, but does it mean anything? Not necessarily. So, it’s a work in progress."
The work will continue on Wednesday against Oklahoma City
- Rick Carlisle noted that Shawn Marion was feeling ill and wasn't himself during the game. Marion should be fine against the Thunder on Wednesday.
- Dirk Nowitzki recorded his 5th double-double of the season, 42 points and 12 rebounds. The Mavericks are 5-0 when Nowitzki records a double-double.
- The early season turnover issues continue to trend back in the right direction as the Mavericks only had 8 turnovers against the Pistons. The Mavericks are now 5-1 on the year when committing fewer turnovers than their opponent.
- Roddy Beaubois continues to work on getting back on the court. He was checked out by doctors and there were no setbacks. He's beginning to do elliptical work and build his cardio back up, Nowitzki can't wait to have him back. "We definitely need somebody who can consistently get in the paint and make stuff easier and I think that’s where we’re waiting on Roddy to make some stuff happen because he’s that explosive guy that can get in the paint," Nowitzki said. "I think J-Kidd can’t do it anymore on a consistent basis. Jet’s a shooter. I’m a shooter. Caron’s more of a shooter, so we don’t really have a guy that consistently gets in the paint and makes stuff easy. Hopefully Roddy will come back and open our offense up a little bit." When asked about Caron being that kind of guy Nowitzki said, "If you watch his career, he's a great mid-range guy...he's got a lot of that in his repertoire. I think early in the 4th quarter, he tried to be aggressive and made some good plays for us."
- Entering tonight, Nowitzki was shooting 52.8% (112-of-212 from the field). He's on pace to shoot above 50% for the second time in his career. The highest percentage he's ever shot from the field in his career was 50.2% in 2006-2007. Three letters come to mind when you think of that year: M-V-P.