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The Dallas Mavericks just keep on winning. Now 13-4, Dallas routed the Mavericks and this game was not even close to what the final score indicated. The Mavs were up 20 for the majority of the second half and a combination of sound offense and great defense allowed them to hold down the game until garbage time when the Rockets started making up some ground.
Dallas can count on efficient scoring from Dirk Nowitzki every night, which has been the case for the past 10 years but it has been finding a second efficient scorer to complement Dirk that has bothered the Mavericks since Steve Nash left. Tonight, they got the usual from Dirk. 20 points on 10-of-16 shooting with 10 rebounds as well for Nowitzki. The number two guy in this game was the normally inefficient Caron Butler, who blew the game open in the third quarter with an array of shots from the perimeter. Butler made eight of his 14 shots and though he didn’t bring much else to the table than scoring, his 19 points were key and really won the game for the Mavs during that third quarter stretch.
Former Washington Wizards defensive stopper DeShawn Stevenson hit a pair of three’s as well as a baseline fadeaway on route to scoring 10 points for Dallas. Jason Kidd added eight points and 12 assists. Tyson Chandler, who I will cover in detail tomorrow, had five points and eight rebounds.
Houston, at least while they are without Yao, is a team that lives and dies by the outside shot. Luis Scola is their best player, but getting him 30+ shot attempts a game just isn’t realistic. Thus, if Kevin Martin has an off night, that pretty much diminishes all chances of a Rocket victory, at least with Aaron Brooks out. As it turned out, nobody had a good night for the Rockets. Scola took 13 shots to score 15 points, Martin missed 11 of his 15 field goal attempts and Courtney Lee was four-of-13 from the field. Just a bad night overall for Houston.
Houston is now 2-8 on the road. This team should have been so much better. These are the games that Miami wins handily while all three stars get to pad their season averages. Going up against the Wizards, who were without their best player John Wall, Dwyane Wade dropped 26 points, eight rebounds, six assists and four steals, LeBron James made 10 of his 18 shots on his way to scoring 30 points (he also had seven turnovers) and Chris Bosh added 20 points and seven rebounds. Andray Blatche had 26 points for the Wizards, but shot selection was an issue. Gilbert Arenas added 23 points, though he did miss seven of his 10 three-point attempts. The Hornets went to David West five times in a row down the stretch but he couldn’t come up with a good look, allowing the Thunder to complete a fourth quarter comeback. West was missing shots he normally makes and though this game was in OKC and the refs were allowing a lot more contact on one end than the other, he definitely should have been converting those looks at the rim, especially with the prime post position he was given.
West finished with 20 points on 24 shots, which is not acceptable for a big man of West’s caliber. Chris Paul, who is clearly still feeling the effects of his knee injury and has taken on a lesser role in crunch time because of it, had 17 points, 14 assists and five steals. Russell Westbrook countered with 25 points, 11 assists and five steals, but he missed 10 of his 19 shots and piled up eight turnovers. Kevin Durant had 26 points, but only scored 14 points from the field on seven-of-22 shooting. The Bucks are struggling and without Andrew Bogut they didn’t have a very good chance of winning this game anyways. Brandon Jennings had 27 points for Milwaukee but that wasn’t enough to overcome the team effort from Utah. Deron Williams had 22 points on eight-of-12 shooting with 10 assists and five rebounds for the Jazz while Al Jefferson added 22 points on 11-of-14 shooting with 11 rebounds and four blocks.