The Mavericks gave Coach Rick Carlisle his 400th career win with a victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves 100-86. Carlisle has led the Mavericks to a 119-63 record. The Mavericks knew they were going to face a test in the form of Kevin Love, the forward came into tonight leading the league in rebounds at 14.9 rebounds/game. "They lead the league in possessions before you even factor in offensive rebounds," said Carlisle during the morning shootaround. "They lead the league in offensive rebounds, that's the reason they lead the league in shots taken, they're tough to guard."
The challenge was created, to match the Wolves intensity in terms of rebounding and the challenge was met, the Mavericks out-rebounded the Wolves 50-46. Dallas also held Minnesota to 15 second-chance points, Minnesota came into the game leading the NBA in second-chance points, averaging 18.5 points/game in that department.
Dallas' centers were mainly handling the responsibility of shutting down Kevin Love and Co., Tyson Chandler led the charge and out-dueled Love on the boards 18-15. Brendan Haywood also contributed in a big way with 10 rebounds. Brenson Chanwood was present and accounted for with a combined total of 16 points and 28 rebounds. "He [Love] still got a lot of rebounds, so it's hard to keep him away from the defensive rebounds," Haywood said. "But, we wanted to eliminate his offensive rebounds and that just comes down to meeting him early, getting in hand-to-hand combat with him and fighting to keep him off the glass."
Chandler went off in third quarter recording 14 rebounds in the third quarter alone. Those 14 rebounds broke a Mavericks record for rebounds in a quarter that was previously held by Popeye Jones and Lorenzo Williams, the previous record was 12 rebounds. "Coach kind of got on me a little bit at halftime about my energy and what I was bringing out there so I wanted to respond to it well," said Chandler in regards to the results of the evening.
The Mavericks have now played 18 games and in 9 of them they have held their opponent to 10 or more points below their season average. The latest instance had Minnesota averaging 101.1 points/game and they finished with 86. "At the 18 game mark, I'm not going to get too excited because we were about this point last year and we had made significant gains defensively and we had slippage," said Carlisle. "We're working to avoid that and continue to make progress. No one is patting themselves on the back around here. We know defense and unity are our biggest assets."
The team has used the Chicago game as a learning experience and understand that they can't afford to take things for granted. "It's progress," said the head coach. "We've just got to continue with it, I like this group a lot. We've been very businesslike with our approach...they know how important it is to put opponents away when they have the opportunity. The mission is to sustain the defense, sustain the rebounding, sustain the concentration and attention
It will be a battle of the 7-game winning streaks as the Mavericks head to Utah to face the Jazz. "Utah is always tough to play," said Carlisle. "We haven't won there since I've been here, I don't think we've been close. It's always a difficult game. The important thing is being really tied together and rebounding the ball. When it goes you, you gotta go get it because their front line all have length and have a nose for the ball. It's similar to tonight only it's a more experienced team."
- The Mavericks entered tonight's match-up with a 13-4 record on the year. It marked the Mavericks' best start through 17 games since 2002-03 in which they began the season 14-0 and held a record of 16-1 through 17 games.
- Marion is up to his old "Trix." With his game-high 16 points, Marion has now scored in double figures in five straight games.
- The 55 point first half tied a season-high for the Mavericks. The scored 55 points in the first half at Memphis on 11/10 and hosting Philadelphia on 11/12.
- JJ Barea scoring in double figures appears to be a stone-cold lock for a Mavericks victory. With his 14 points on the evening, the Mavericks moved to 6-0 on the season when Barea scores in double-figures.
- Jason Terry recorded 3 steals in the Mavericks victory. Dallas is now 6-1 when Terry records at least 2 steals.
- When the 3-ball is right, the Mavericks are right. Dallas shot 41.7% from 3-point range and they are now 7-0 when they shoot 40% or better from long range. Marion made two three-pointers on the evening, he only had one in the previous 17 games. This was the first game since 2/21/2008 where Marion had multiple three-point makes.