The Dallas Mavericks were able to build up a 20-point lead, the only difference was they weren't able to hold on for a victory. The Mavericks led, 88-85 with 6:12 to go in the fourth quarter, but the Bucks used a 14-0 run to take a 97-88 advantage with 3:23 to play in regulation. With the win, the Bucks snapped the Mavericks’ 12-game winning streak (tied for longest winning streak this season with San Antonio) and won their third straight game in the process. The Mavericks fell to 19-5 on the year, while the Bucks improved to 10-13. It also ends a streak of seven straight wins against Milwaukee at home.
That 20-point advantage happened early in the game, similar to the previous game against Utah. Dallas opened up a 20-point advantage (42-22) with just over 5 minutes remaining in the second quarter, but Milwaukee used an 11-0 run to cut the deficit to nine (42-33) with 3 minutes to go in the first half.
The Bucks were led by Brandon Jennings 23 points and Andrew Bogut added 21 points in the victory. The Bucks started out sluggish early and eventually found their way with full-court pressure and breaking through the Mavericks zone defense. They also made strategic substitutions at halftime, starting Ersan Ilyasova and Chris Douglas-Robert to give the team more offense. The Bucks scored 32 points in the third quarter.
"They kicked our ass," said coach Rick Carlisle. "I don’t know any simpler way to say it."
"We certainly had lapses," Carlisle explained. "We certainly made our share of mistakes. But credit Milwaukee, they took the game away from us. I’m not going to say we gave it away, or anything like that. They took it."
When asked what the Bucks were able to expose in the Mavericks defense tonight, Carlisle singled out one person, Brandon Jennings. "(Jennings) played great. He’s the quickest guy on the planet. He exposed how quick he is," said Carlisle. He’s very difficult to deal with. We didn’t do a great job of handling him, but he made some difficult shots. He was very determined. You could see it in his eyes the whole second half. He was attacking, and we never really took away his momentum. So, as it went along, it just became a more dangerous situation."
Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki, who entered Monday’s game coming off of a week in which he garnered Player of the Week honors for the second time this season, finished with 30 points and 7 boards on the night. It marked his sixth 30-point effort of the season. Despite the strong effort by the Mavericks forward, they still came up on the losing end. "We just seemed to let up a little bit on both ends of the floor," Nowitzki said. "We were just taking it too easy, and you can never take it easy in this league. Teams are too dangerous, too good."
The Bucks also implemented "Hack-a-Wood" in the 4th quarter and he missed all four free throw attempts. He was quickly substituted out for Tyson Chandler. "That was pretty smart by (Scott) Skiles there, especially in the fourth quarter," said Dirk Nowitzki. "He saw they already had four team fouls so at this point you don't really waste any fouls. The next one we're going to the line anyway. So, it's a smart move by a good coach." Is this something to expect from opposing teams going forward? "Sure, it wouldn't surprise me in the least," Carlisle said. "It was a good move, they were already in the bonus anyway...Brendan will be alright, he'll make enough free throws."
The streak was going to end at some point. The Mavericks will head back to the drawing board and learn from their mistakes and try to start a new streak. "I still have a great belief in our team, and I know what our potential is," Carlisle said. "But this kind of slippage we’ve seen all too often. I’ve got to coach harder, the players have got to be more conscientious, and we’ve got to do better than we did tonight."
-The three-point shot disappeared for the Mavericks tonight as they shot 25% from the field, at one point they were 1-11 from beyond the arc.
- The Mavericks gave up 52 points in the paint by the Bucks and the Bucks' bench outscored Dallas 54-36. The 52 points tie a season-high for points allowed in the paint (also occurring against Denver on November 3rd). It also marked a season high in bench points allowed (previous high was 48 against Houston on November 29th).
- The Mavericks held the Bucks to 15 points in the opening quarter, a new season-low in terms for points allowed in a quarter.
- Dirk Nowitzki went 3-6 from the three-point line. That marks consecutive games where Nowitzki had three three-pointers, the last time he did that was in January 2006. When asked if Dirk Nowitzki is the best player in the league, Mark Cuban said he's definitely right in the mix in terms of MVP Candidates.
- Dallas goes back to .500 basketball. With the win against Utah they moved to 1,226-1,225 in the 31st year of their existence. It took a while to get back to .500, a stretch where they went 310 games under .500 in an eight-season sampling during the ‘90s definitely slows you down.
- Roddy Update: There essentially is no update. When asked about the impact Roddy will have when he returns, Cuban alluded to it essentially being a trade-like move, without the lag in trying to have him learn the system. That should temper the fears that Roddy will be out all season long.