The Dallas Mavericks (29-33) traveled north Sunday night to take on the Minnesota Timberwolves (21-39) where they won in convincing fashion, 100-77. Vince Carter lead Dallas, putting up 22 points and 9 rebounds off of the bench. Derrick Williams lead the Wolves, scoring 18 and grabbing 9 rebounds.
The Mavericks now boast a three game win streak and have won two road games in a row for the first time since December 6th and 8th where they beat the Suns and Rockets. Dallas is still hoping to reach the playoffs with 20 games remaining.
The game began ugly, with the teams scoring a combined 13 points in the first six minutes of game action. The Maverick starters took and missed a number of long jumpers, with only Chris Kaman able to find the bottom of the rim in the first few minutes of game action. At the four minute mark, Carlisle went with a mass substitution, bringing out four of the five starters, leaving only O.J. Mayo on the court. Vince Carter and Darren Collison helped bring the Mavericks to life, Carter with two jump shots and a sweet assist to Brandan Wright for a dunk and Collison through increasing the tempo and helping bring the Mavericks to life. Dallas ended the quarter up 21 to 20, boosted by strong defensive play around the rim and excellent ball control, posting no turnovers in the period.
The Mavericks exploded in the first half of the second quarter with a 14-0 run. Tempo from Collison and shot making from Vince Carter and Dirk Nowitzki were the themes of the period. Though Dallas kept up the pace offensively, Dallas let the Wolves back in the game after pushing the lead to 18 points. After not turning the ball over once in the first 17 minutes of the game, the Mavericks turned it over four times in the final seven minutes of the second quarter. Though the Wolves were not able to get the Dallas lead back to single digits, mental lapses by Dallas gave Minnesota some hope as Dallas took a 56-44 lead into half time. Dallas shot 54% for the half, including 6 of 12 from deep.
The third began like the first: ugly shots from Dallas with Chris Kaman the only Maverick able to hit a shot. Minnesota was not able to put together any sort of run and slowly but surely Dallas re-extended the lead. Every player chipped in throughout the period, but the offensive rebounding from Elton Brand and Vince Carter really stood out. With the exception of a few broken plays resulting in points, the Timberwolves were simply unable to find the bottom of the net, scoring only 17 in the quarter as Dallas pushed its lead from 12 to 17, finishing the quarter 78-61.
The fourth quarter was simply a matter of getting to the final buzzer. The Wolves were unable to get any shots to fall, only scoring 16 in the period. Meanwhile, the Mavericks continued to score at will. The final margin of 100-77 could have been much worse, but the Mavericks were unable to convert some fast break chances and missed a shocking number of attempts at the rim, particularly in the final few minutes of the quarter.
-I miss J.J. Barea. Don't you?
-O.J. Mayo is playing fine basketball, so it was scary when he turned his ankle in the 3rd quarter. Luckily he was able to return, though he'll likely be sore for days.
-Be weary of taking too much away from this game. Minnesota has experience some horrible luck this year when it comes to injuries.
-That said, I have to praise Darren Collison. I don't much care for his game, mainly due to how inconsistent he is. When he's locked in, as he was tonight. he's a game changer for Dallas. His 8 assists help break this game open.
-Oh Vince Carter, what would we do with out you?
-Dirk fade away sighting in the third! Did you see it? He was curling up towards the elbow, got the pass, immediately spun shifting his momentum, and fired off a fantastic fade away that left Derrick Williams guffawing.
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