Dirk Nowitzki led all scorers with 27 points, and Vince Carter helped off the bench with 19. Dallas won every quarter in tonight's game, and appeared close to pulling away several times during the night before finally breaking through in the final period.
Shawn Marion, who left the game with a minute left in the first half, had X-Rays that revealed a contusion in his right shoulder, which is apparently good news. Marion ended up being the only member of the starting lineup not to score in double-digits.
Monta Ellis struggled shooting the ball early, but came through when it mattered most and did his best to fill up the stat sheet otherwise. He and Jose Calderon combined for 17 assists and 10 steals.
Dallas, who had lost two in a row to the Clippers and Knicks, made a clear effort to forego the jumpshots that had undone them recently, and attack the rim. They finished with 58 points in the paint. Let's hope they can carry that over to tomorrow night's tough matchup against the rival Spurs.
The game began with both teams running and gunning. A Vince Carter three put Dallas ahead 33-31 at the end of the first quarter, and all that scoring came without a contribution from either of the Mavs' starting guards, who were passing up jumpshots in favor of finding teammates inside. DeJuan Blair had 8 first quarter points, all on layups, and Shawn Marion and Brandan Wright added six layups of their own. The Mavs were feasting inside.
In the second quarter, Dallas started to build their lead. Dirk Nowitzki converted on three straight possessions early on, and Vince Carter had 9 points in the quarter to make the Maverick advantage 7 going into half, 60-53. More than half those points(34) came in the painted area.
After oscillating between five and eight points for most of the third, Dallas looked like they were trying to break the game open, but the Lakers just wouldn't go away. Finally, Monta Ellis, who had been 2-11 to this point, came alive. Over a two minute stretch he scored 10 straight points for Dallas, pushing the lead to 13 and assuring that Dallas wouldn't surrender a lead late as they've done far too often this season.
- Dirk goes 12-20 for 27 points, with 7 rebounds, 4 assists, and no fouls. He was -6. Wait...what?
- Example #38923 why Dallas could really use Devin Harris: Jose Calderon played 36 minutes tonight, and Monta Ellis played 37. And Dallas tips off against the Spurs in less than 20 hours. Gal Mekel got some burn tonight and was somewhere between forgettable and drink-to-forget-able.
- Hard to believe this is the same Kendall Marshall I saw go practically 0-for-Summer League 18 months ago. As one of our writers pointed out, it would have been really nice to get that guy three weeks ago when he was available. Prior to the 2012 draft, there was a lot of chatter that had the Mavs and Marshall as mutually interested. Oh well.
- Poor Wayne Ellington got a chance to start the second half in place of Marion. He went 0-3 and had 0's across the board. He is now 18-55 on the year, and hasn't scored in his last four appearances, totaling 19 minutes. Ellington shot nearly 40% from three last year. I know somewhere in his body is the capacity to hit shots, which Dallas could really use, but it isn't coming out right now. This happened last year with Dahntay Jones(though Jones was far less consistent as a shooter over his career).
- DeJuan Blair put up 15-9 as he continues to be the beneficiary of Dalembert's screwups. Dalembert is one of the more difficult guys to get a handle on in recent memory for Dallas.
- Update on Marion: it seems he will not be traveling to San Antonio. That is not great news.