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Balanced Scoring Attack Lifts Mavs Over Hawks

The Dallas Mavericks moved to 3-0 on their four game home-stand with a 102-91 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday night.  The Mavericks have now won four games in a row and five out of their last six.  Dallas needed another all-around scoring performance to outlast the Hawks as they had seven players score in double figures for the second consecutive game.  Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavericks with 19 points and Jason Terry had a season-high 11 assists in the victory (previous high was nine against Orlando on1/8/11).

With the win, the Mavericks have now won 11 of 13 at home against Atlanta.  The Mavericks last home loss against the Hawks was the previous match-up at the American Airlines Center as they lost 80-75 on December 5, 2009.  That loss ended the Mavs five-game home winning streak against the Hawks.  Now, Dallas has won nine of the last 12 meetings with Atlanta, including 19 of the last 25.  The game marked the second night of a back-to-back for the Hawks (they are now 11-4 on the second night of a back-to-back).  They defeated the New York Knicks 111-102 on Friday after their six-game road winning streak ended with Wednesday's 98-90 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.

For three quarters, the Mavericks couldn't prevent Johnson from getting deep inside the painted area as he scored 18 of his first 20 points in the paint.  The Hawks led 78-77 to start the fourth quarter, but the Mavericks responded as Brendan Haywood led the charge on both ends of the floor and that allowed the Mavericks to break away from the Hawks and continue their winning streak.

Did THAT Just Happen?!

- Sasha Pavlovic went 2-5 from the field and all three misses were point-blank layups.  Coach Rick Carlisle mentioned after the game that Pavlovic was given the news of his departure from the team immediately after the game.  Carlisle thanked Pavlovic in front of the rest of the Mavericks, who gave him a standing ovation.  The Mavericks went 5-1 with Pavlovic in the starting lineup.  With his performance while a member of the Mavericks, it is incredibly hard to imagine that the forward will not find a new home in the NBA.  According to Carlisle, Peja Stojakovic is not traveling with the team on their upcoming road trip.  That means the Mavericks are going to be thin at the small forward position for the short-term.

- Just before the end of the first half, Jason Kidd stole the ball from Jamal Crawford.  Out of pure insanity, Crawford decided to grab Kidd for the foul.  It was a clear path to the basket foul and Jason Kidd made both free throws.  With the foul, the Mavericks kept possession and DeShawn Stevenson hit a three-point basket.  So a turnover by the Hawks resulted in a 5-point swing which allowed the Mavericks to take a 52-49 lead into halftime.

- For the Hawks, Joe Johnson went crazy in the first half, especially in the first quarter as he had 12 first quarter points.  He had scored at least 30 points in four of his last seven games.  The Mavericks made and adjustment and had Shawn Marion guard Joe Johnson, with little help.  In the defeat, Johnson had a game-high 27 points.

- The fourth quarter means that it is Brendan Haywood's time to shine...wait, what?  The Hawks had a 78-77 lead over the Mavericks going into the final quarter and gave the Mavericks a quick lead with a six-foot hook shot.  Haywood's energy level was incredibly high and that triggered the Mavericks on both sides of the floor.

- Despite it being a one-point deficit, the Mavericks did come from behind heading into the final quarter.  They opened the fourth quarter with a 14-1 run to take the lead.  The Mavericks outscored the Hawks 25-13 in the final quarter.  Atlanta was 25-2 when leading going into the fourth quarter prior to Saturday's game (4th best in the NBA).  The Mavericks improved to 8-10 when trailing heading into the fourth quarter (5th best in the NBA).


Box Score Revelations

- The Mavericks came into the night ranked 5th in the league in terms of bench production, 31.6 points/game.  Tonight, the Mavericks bench scored 44 points in the victory.  The Mavs are 23-7 when their bench outscores their opponent's, and they're just 8-8 when outscored.

- Dirk Nowitzki was the efficient Dirk that everyone knows and loves.  He scored 19 points on only 11 shots from the field (2-3 from the free throw line).  He did have 5 turnovers though.  Josh Smith provided some tough defense and was able to poke the ball away from Nowitzki even if he was beaten on the play.

- The Mavericks finally won the rebounding game versus an opponent as they had 41 rebounds to Atlanta's 38.  It had been ten games since the Mavericks won the rebounding match-up over an opponent.  The box score reveals that Jason Kidd was the leading rebounder for the Mavericks with eight rebounds.

- As mentioned, Brendan Haywood was a huge factor in the fourth quarter and he played all but three minutes and ten second of action in the quarter.  Haywood had seven points while going 1-1 from the field, 5-8 from the free throw line and grabbed 4 rebounds.  He finished with 10 points and the Mavericks are now 2-0 when Haywood scores in double figures.

- JJ Barea was able to secure an offensive rebound.  Barea now has 13 offensive rebounds on the season.  He had two games earlier in the season where he recorded more than one offensive rebound in a game.  The point guard nabbed two offensive rebounds in the game in New Orleans (11/17/10) as well as the game against Milwaukee (13/13/10).


Tweetings From the Mavs Universe

- "Mavs offense has looked much better of late"


- "One-legged fadeway swishes, and the foul. Dallas, I believe we have our Dirk back."


- "Turn away from the #Hawks for three minutes and all hell breaks loose. #Mavs on a 10-1 run, lead 87-79. SMH."


- "Sasha Pavlovic leaves Dallas w/ broken nose & broken heart."



If You Don't Like What I Said, Read What They Said

- Rick Carlisle on the decision to release Sasha Pavlovic, ""We appreciate what he did and the guys gave him a great round of applause in the locker room, so it was a nice moment.  I'm sure he's disappointed, but I'm also sure he'll hook on with someone else or if he comes back with us, it will be for the rest of the year.  The decision comes down from the top and it basically involves flexibility going forward."

- Rick Carlisle on Peja Stojakovic, "He will stay here and concentrate on conditioning and the physical aspects of getting ready to play.  At that point we believe he will be much more ready to step on the court.  That is subject to change, but that is where I believe things are right now."

- Dirk Nowitzki on Sasha Pavlovic being released, "It's tough to see him let go.  The decision obviously comes from higher up, but to be thrown into a situation like that, be a starter and respond the way he has, he's been great.  He's been learning the plays on the fly and competing.  He'll be in the league somewhere. He's too good of a player and too good of a guy to not be in the league."

- Jason Terry on his night, "It’s always special going up against my former team, Atlanta.  The Sixth Man of the Year duel, (Jamal Crawford) and I were chatting all game long on who would get the leg up so it’s always fun."

- Tyson Chandler on what led to the victory, "Brendan Haywood...He played with great energy.  He was all over the floor, got a couple of deflections, big key stops and he made himself available.  He was very aggressive.  It was fun to watch to be honest with you."

- Brendan Haywood on his performance, "I just take it one game at a time and try to move forward.  I'm starting to understand what I'm asked to do there and I'm feeling more comfortable."


BG's Baller of the Game:

If it is good enough for Tyson Chandler, it is good enough for me.  Brendan Haywood has been granted baller status with his fourth quarter performance and that made the difference in the game for the Mavericks.  The performance stole the fourth quarter responsibilities away from Jason Terry.  Haywood might be responding from the benching he received in the New Jersey game.  Ian Mahinmi is clearly breathing down his neck and has shown that he is capable of playing minutes when asked to do so.  Whatever is the case, Haywood has performed and been a difference-maker for the Mavericks. 


The Mavericks will take Sunday off and then finish up their four game home-stand against the lowly Washington Wizards on Monday night.  Washington has lost their last four games and they have yet to win a game on the road this season (0-23).  The Wizards do have John Wall, the electric rookie out of Kentucky, but that is about all they really have in terms of healthy parts.  Former Maverick Josh Howard could potentially play in the game but he has been out for most of the month, he has tendinitis in his left knee.  The game on Monday will tip off and 7:30 pm CST.


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