After coming off a three game losing streak to the Knicks, Bobcats and Timberwolves; Coach Rick Carlisle preached his sermon of defense and rebounding to the Mavs before their match up against the win-less Washington Wizards(0-7). Carlisle approached this game with a different line up starting Chris Kaman at center and Dahntay Jones at small forward, hoping to give the Mavericks some leadership & edge right from the start. With Nowitzki and Marion still sidelined due to injuries, the Mavs looked to continue their winning ways just as they started the season off without their top 2 players.
“The new lineup brought us some more toughness and from a defensive standpoint it helped us,” said O.J. Mayo.
Starting the first half the Mavericks looked solid as they did in the first 4 games, running a fast break transition game with the young back court of Collison, Mayo and Crowder. The Mavs would dominate the first half outscoring the Wizards (28-14) taking a 63-45 lead into the break. Kaman would lead the way with 14 pts, Mayo 12 pts. Mavs would also tie for their season high- first half points.
Into the second half the Mavericks deep bench would continue to beat up on Washington with Troy Murphy and rookie Jae Crowder both going off in double figures, but going into the fourth with just seven minutes remaining Dallas would somehow blow a 22 point lead allowing the scrappy Wizards to go on a 12-0 run. Washington reserve Cartier Martin (who was 1-3 from the three this season) would continue to light up Dallas going off for 14 pts and 4-4 from behind the arc, cutting it to 104-101 w/21 seconds. With just 17 seconds left on the clock, Kaman would eventually seal the deal for Dallas on a and-1 play knocking down the 3 point play. Kaman was praised before the game by Coach Carlisle dubbing him one of the top 10 centers in the NBA right now, and indeed the “other big german” performed up to the title dropping 23 pts. 8 reb. O.J Mayo lead the Mavericks with 25 pts along with Crowder, Brand(1st double-double), and Murphy all in double figures. Although it was an close call for the Mavs tonight, they must continue to get better on the defensive end of the floor and also build off this game for momentum as they face the Indiana Pacers Friday night.
“Bottom line, we got the win, but we should have won by 25-30. That’s the bottom line.” – Chris Kaman
“A win’s a win. We can take many positives for those first three quarters and learn from the fourth quarter.” – Elton Brand
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