In a game the Dallas Mavericks needed to not only win, but control, its star players helped do just that, as the Mavericks (27-22) defeated the Brooklyn Nets 91-79.
Four Dallas players ended in double figures, led by forward Chandler Parsons who scored 19 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. It was Parsons’ first double-double of the season.
And perhaps more important than Parsons’ continued success was the return of center Zaza Pachulia. Absent for the team’s three game road trip, Pachulia returned to action and recorded his 21st double-double of the season on 16 points and 12 rebounds. The 21st double-double is a new career high for the big man out of the Republic of Georgia.
“I missed a couple of days but I stayed active and did everything I could do,” Pachulia said. “I definitely did not want to sit out in the middle of the season.”
Aside from a back and forth first few minutes, Dallas kept Brooklyn (12-35) in check all night with the exception of Nets’ center Brook Lopez, who had a game high 28 points and 12 rebounds. It was not enough to overcome the Mavericks’ balanced attack, however, as Brooklyn shot just 35.9 percent from the floor and 20 percent from beyond the arc.
“It was a really important thing for us [getting Pachulia back] because he of his size and experience against Lopez,” head coach Rick Carlisle said. “And it put some pressure on them at the other end to put the ball in the basket. 16 [points] and 12 [rebounds] are gaudy numbers for a center position, but it’s production we needed.”
On a night where the Mavericks only got 10 points from its starting back court, other members of the team stepped up. J.J. Barea had 13 points off the bench and Raymond Felton finished the game plus 25 to help the team seal the deal.
“Our bench is one of our calling cards,” Carlisle said. “I thought Barea and Felton played huge roles.”
Forward Dirk Nowitzki had a quiet 12 points and eight rebounds, but hit several key shots through the game, especially during the first half as Dallas built its lead. Even more beneficial, Nowitzki was able to rest a majority of the second half since the Mavericks built as much as an 18 point lead.
Nevertheless, Nowitzki is focused on the upcoming schedule. Nine of Dallas’ next 12 games will be played at the American Airlines Center, a vital stretch for a number of reasons.
“It was a good win,” Nowitzki said. “It was a good start. We have a tough back-to-back coming up.”‘
Next Up: Dallas hosts the Phoenix Suns on Saturday Jan. 31. Tipoff is set for 6:00 p.m.