The Mavs spoiled the return of Ricky Rubio with a 100-94 victory over the Timberwolves. Monta Ellis led the way with 23 points with Chandler Parsons chipping in 18 points as well. The Mavs won despite Rajon Rondo missing the game with an orbital fracture.
Dallas hit the ground running in the first quarter with a quick 10-0 run. It was nice to see Chandler Parsons play aggressive early after he missed the previous two games with a stomach bug. With Rondo out, JJ Barea got the start. He had a very Rondo-like stat line with 10 points on 4-14 shooting with 8 assists. Barea did an adequate job running the offense, but more importantly, he restored the optimum spacing Dallas had before the Rondo trade.
The Al-Farouq Aminu show helped the Mavs build a 21- point lead in the second quarter. Aminu continues to show why he was drafted in the lottery. He finished with 9 points, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks and 2 assists. The box score doesn't do justice to Aminu's impact on the floor. He's constantly deflecting passes, grabbing loose balls, and causing havoc in transition. In the second quarter Aminu had an incredible chasedown block on Andrew Wiggins. Only a handful of guys in the league have the ability to make defensive plays in transition like Aminu.
After building the 21-point lead, the Mavs started playing with their food. A couple careless turnovers and blown rotations dwindled the lead down to seven before halftime.
Monta and Parsons took over the third quarter for the Mavs. The duo combined for 25 of the team's 27 points in the quarter. Monta hit a couple ridiculous off the bounce threes that were very Monta. Even after the scoring explosion, the Mavs couldn't pull away.
The Mavs inability to extend the lead came back to haunt them down the stretch. Their offense ran stagnant for the middle portion of the fourth quarter while the Wolves began to make a run. A game that was seemingly in hand for 46 minutes was suddenly a one possession game. It didn't help that Monta lost his mind for a few possessions where he took some horrid shots. However, JJ Barea sealed the game with a layup and a couple made free throws in the final minute.
- It was no coincidence that Dirk was an efficient 7-10 from the field tonight. Holger is in town for his annual midseason shooting with Dirk. Expect an uptick in the Big German's efficiency during the next couple weeks.
- Andrew Wiggins had a breathtaking chasedown block in the second quarter. The rookie didn't have a great offensive game, but it's pretty clear he's going to be a great player in this league.
- Devin Harris hurt his left ankle in the closing minutes of the game when Nikola Pekovic fell on his leg. Harris' status is uncertain for the upcoming road trip. The Mavs play Steph Curry, Damian Lillard, and Chris Paul within the next week, so a loss of Harris would be devastating.
- Speaking of point guards, Raymond Felton showed signs of life tonight. He had a nice no-look alley oop to Aminu and a pull up 3 on back-to-back possessions in the first half. We may be seeing a lot more of him if the Harris injury is serious.
- Chandler Parsons played some shooting guard tonight for the first time this season. Carlisle went with a Barea-Parsons-Aminu-Villanueva-Dirk lineup for a stretch in the fourth quarter. It was interesting to say the least.
- Ricky Rubio made a bounce pass in the fourth quarter that made my brain bleed. He sees angles unlike anybody else in the league. It's great to see him healthy again.