Mavericks AM News: Dirk Leads Dallas Over Timberwolves
The Dallas Mavericks leaned on forward Dirk Nowitzki to overcome a late rally by the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center in Minneapolis.
Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Sam Mitchell entered Sunday’s meeting with the Dallas Mavericks with a head-to-head record of just 1-7.
As of Monday morning it’s now 1-8.
The Mavericks rebounded from a dismal performance against the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday night as Dallas starters looked a little more game-ready than they had been. The Timberwolves, losers of five-straight games coming in, were more than willing to allow Dallas to reach a record of 22-16 following a 93-87 victory.
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Minnesota didn’t make things easy as the Mavericks starting backcourt of Deron Williams and Wesley Matthews didn’t score a point away from the charity stripe until late in the fourth quarter. Matthews had just two points from the free-throw line during the first half – Williams had nothing.
In typical fashion, the Mavericks fell behind early but would eventually grab their first lead on a Dirk Nowitzki jump shot to begin the second period. The 2011 NBA Finals MVP would end up with a strong 29 points, which led all scorers in the game.
Small forward Chandler Parsons rebounded from a lousy showing in Milwaukee with 14 points. He was 6-7 from the floor as the Mavericks were able to get creative in getting closer to the rim. Parson’s jump shot might be struggling, but if he can continue moving the way he has been the last few games, good things might be on the horizon. The Mavericks just don’t lose games when Parsons hits the 20 point mark, something he didn’t do against the Timberwolves, but he did enough.
Center Zaza Pachulia earned his 19th double-double of the year with 13 points and 11 rebounds, another powerful stat that Dallas has been able to win with much more often than not.
Backup center JaVale McGee has been getting better and better since he got back into action, and against the Timberwolves the seven-footer could be seen often leaping up for lob passes from point guard J.J. Barea. McGee scored eight points and Barea added four assists.
The Mavericks held Minnesota to just 13 points in a third quarter that almost decided the game. Dallas would build it’s largest lead at the end of the quarter and would finish the period on an 18-4 run that the T’wolves were never able to fully recover from.
Clear is the fact that 2014 first-overall NBA draft selection Andrew Wiggins, an athletic and gifted small forward out of Kansas, is the real deal. He had 21 points and seven rebounds on a night that felt like the Mavericks might have dogged a bullet.
Speaking of dodged bullets, there’s big one coming to American Airlines Center on Wednesday and this one’s going to hit it’s mark.
Six-time NBA Finals participant LeBron James and the 26-9 Cleveland Cavaliers head to Dallas for the only time this season in the Mavericks next chance at last summer’s 2015 NBA Finals teams. The Mavs beat the defending world champion Golden State Warriors on December 30 at the AAC – the Dubs did play without reigning league MVP Stephen Curry in that game.
James figures to play in this game against the Mavericks in what has to be one of the top-three biggest games of the year so far. Tip off is scheduled for 7:30pm CST.
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Nowitzki scores 29 as Mavs top Timberwolves (Sports Illustrated via AP)
Nowitzki did a little more than just score 29 points in this win. He was also active on the defensive end late as several teammates continue to struggle shooting the ball.
Mavericks future depends on Matthews, Chandler (Hoops Habit – Cole Mentzel)
The clock is ticking on Nowitzki for sure, which is exactly why the Mavericks organization must be getting every penny’s worth from Parsons and Matthews moving forward.
Mavericks: The rise of McGee in Dallas (The Smoking Cuban – Jesse Carr)
The Mavericks knew what they were getting in McGee, a player not always known for his discipline on the court or his basketball IQ, but so far so good for the seven-footer who’s making an impact.
Nowitzki: “The month of January is a beast.” (Eddie Sefko – Dallas Morning News)
Already mentioned is the Mavericks’ nest game against the Eastern Conference champion Cleaveland Cavaliers, but Nowitzki discusses the rest of this month’s mess.