Again, the Dallas Mavericks were short-handed as they went against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The difference tonight was the Mavericks were able to get a balanced scoring attack and that led to 104-95 victory for the Mavericks. The Mavericks had five players score in double figures, they are now 14-1 when they have 5 players in double-figures. The starting five were the players in double figures. With the win, Dallas ended their three-game losing streak and avoid their first four-game slide since January 9-14, 2009. The Mavs also were able to hand the Cavaliers their 17th loss in their last 18 games. Dallas moved to 17-0 when they score 100 or more points.
It was a battle between two short-handed units between the Mavericks and the Cavaliers. Anderson Varejao (9.8 rebounds per game) missed the game as he was recovering from a broken cheekbone. The Mavericks were without Dirk Nowitzki and Caron Butler due to knee injuries. The confirmation on the severity of Butler's injury will be determined on Monday as he has an MRI on his knee.
The Mavericks went with their sixth different starting lineup with Jason Terry and Shawn Marion joining Jason Kidd, DeShawn Stevenson and Tyson Chandler in the starting five. It was Terry's first start since November 6th, he was a starter during the first five games of the season for the Mavericks.
The Mavericks got off to hot start with a 12-2 run to start the game. Tyson Chandler led four of five Mavs starters that were able to score in the opening quarter, he scored 8 points. Dallas had a lot of energy to start the game and were scoring inside and outside. The defense was solid as well as they held Cleveland scoreless until the 9:30 mark of the opening quarter. The bench was unable to sustain the lead as the Cavaliers were able to push the tempo against the Mavericks. The Cavaliers run nearly evaporated all of Dallas' double-digit lead (14 points) as the score was 27-25 in favor of the Mavericks after the first quarter. Both teams shot over 50% from the field in the opening quarter.
The bench was able to regroup to start the second quarter and take back the lead after Cleveland took an early lead in the second quarter. The Mavericks were able to build a double-digit lead during the quarter, but they were really unable to slow the Cavaliers down. Cleveland had 3-of-12 shooting start. After that rough start, the Cavs had a stretch were they were able to hit 15-of-20 which allowed them to stay in the game as it went to half; the Mavericks led 55-47 at halftime.
Dallas came out in the second half a little sluggish but quickly got their footing. Timely steals led to transition offense for Dallas and that allowed them to maintain a healthy lead. A 9-0 run allowed the Mavericks to gain their largest lead of the game, 17 points at 76-59. Former Maverick Antawn Jamison led the charge for the Cavaliers and his effort allowed the Cavaliers to shrink the Mavericks' lead to 10 at 79-69 going into the third quarter.
The fourth quarter started slowly for both teams. The Mavericks only scored four points in the first 3 minutes of the quarter. Luckily, the Cavaliers didn't score their first bucked until the 8:36 mark of the final quarter, they started 0-8 from the field until that first bucket. Dallas was able to continue their balanced scoring attack in the quarter to record the victory.
The Mavericks were really able to take advantage of the small front-line for the Cavaliers as they were able to score 38 points in the paint. They were led by Tyson Chandler and Shawn Marion in that department as they did their damage in the painted area. Chandler recorded his 5th double-double of the season with 14 points and 14 rebounds . The Mavericks are now 5-0 when Chandler records a double-double. Marion returned after a one game absence due to a leg contusion and made up for lost time by scoring 22 points and added 5 rebounds. The 22 points for Marion marked a new season-high and the Mavericks are now 3-0 when Marion reaches the 20-point scoring mark.
DeShawn Stevenson (Threevenson) started the game 0-2 from beyond the arc but quickly found the range and went 5-12 from three-point range. He scored a season-high 21 points. Stevenson's 5 three-point shots made also tied a career-high.
With the recent outbreak of injuries for the Mavericks, they recalled rookie Dominique Jones from Frisco to Cleveland to join the Mavericks for today's game against the Cavaliers. Jones had averaged 18.2 points, 5.2 rebounds and 5.0 assists in 10 D-League games. Jones got minutes and was effective during the tail end of the first quarter and leading into the second quarter. His game was similar to the one while he was in Frisco. The rookie was aggressive on both sides of the floor and actually triggered the offense on many occasions. He finished the game with a new season and career-high 9 points and added 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks and a steal in 21 minutes of action. He shot 2-10 from the field but he was aggressive and showed that the work in Frisco paid off.
Over the last two games, Terry went 6-31 from the field. Terry was able to hit his first shot and went 3-6 from the field in the opening quarter. Early, the former Sixth Man of the Year looked a little tentative on both sides of the floor, but the third quarter got Jason Terry going. He finished with 18 points on 8-14 shooting from the field. Terry added 4 assists and 2 steals in the game. The Mavericks are 10-2 on the year when Terry records 2 or more steals in a game.
During the three-game losing streak, the Mavericks were averaging 85.3 points on 40.5% shooting from the field and 31.2% from the three-point line. The offense came alive tonight as they scored 104 points on 48.2% shooting from the field and 37% from the three-point line. The game did mark the first game in 37 match-ups, dating back to last season, where the Mavericks allowed a team to shoot 50% from the field. The Cavaliers shot 50.6% from the field.
Dallas moved to 6-1 on the second night of a back-to-back. The Mavericks will have a day to rest up and learn the severity of Caron Butler's injury. They'll return to the American Airlines Center January 4 to host the Portland Trail Blazers. The Mavericks won their last match-up against the Blazers, 103-98, on December 15.