Well, the victory against the Washington Wizards proved to be more difficult than expected. Ultimately, the Mavericks held on to secure a 107-101 victory. Dallas led 37-33 and used a 15-2 run from the 6:46 mark of the second quarter through the 3:15 mark of the period. They had a lead as large as 22 points before Washington got to within three points in the fourth quarter. Washington now holds the title as the lone team without a win in the league.
O.J. Mayo scored a game-high 25 points to go along with four assists in 38 minutes. Chris Kaman made his second start of the season and scored a season-high 23 points to go along with eight rebounds, three assists, one steal and one block in 32 minutes. Elton Brand recorded his first double-double of the season with a season-high 11 points and a season-high 12 rebounds in 30 minutes.
Play of the game: Mayo hit his only 3-point basket of the night at a crucial part of the game. His bucket with 4:52 left in the game helped build some further separation from the Wizards. His league leading 30th trey gave the Mavericks 98-92 lead. The basketball Gods were kind to Mayo as the ball bounced off the rim a good five or six times before finding the bottom of the net.
Here is the quoteboard for the 107-101 victory for the Mavericks.
On the veterans keeping things in control at the end of the game: “It’s important. We weren’t getting stops and our execution on offense wasn’t very good…It is obvious we have a lot of work to do.”
On Chris Kaman: “He had good stats. I thought his help and activity in the first half and early parts of the second half were good. Down the stretch, we were struggling with guarding [Kevin] Seraphin…Kaman’s scoring was terrific efficiency wise. He had two turnovers but that’s not bad. It comes down to the same thing. We’ve got to work at stops and rebounds. We had an advantage on the boards but to close the game the way we did just doesn’t feel good about it.”
On the new starting lineup: “We didn’t get off to a good start but we pulled it together and that group ended up doing okay. It is never going to be about who starts and how the starters do. It is a whole game and we have to work a rotation that first the right pieces together through 48 minutes and that’s what the goal is going to be. We had some guys step up, though. [Jae] Crowder stepped up off the bench in a big way which was key for us. I thought Brand played a real solid game. Mayo’s scoring was key for us. [Darren] Collison had his ups and downs, but he’s our guy.”
On Mayo’s all-around game: “It’s kind of like when [Jason] Terry was here. It’s the same kind of thing. We need his scoring, but we need an all-around game. I’m not saying just defense. We need play-making, simple play-making and we’re going to need him to score. There’s no doubt about. We need to elevate our level of play at all positions.”
On Mayo and Collison: “We’ve got to work with these guys to help them get better. They’re our two leaders as the starting guards. It’s as simple as that. They’re good players, but we’ve got to help them get better. We’ve got to help all of our guys get better.”
Overall: “We’re playing a brand of basketball that isn’t where it needs to be. We’ve got to be better…We’ve got to be patient but persistent with the team.”
The fourth quarter: “You can’t let guys get hot in this league…They knocked down some big shots and made it a game. When you have a team down, you’ve got to step on them.”
Figuring out a way to win: “We’re happy we won so we take the positives of playing well for three quarters but we take the fourth quarter as a learning lesson. We’ve got to play harder and play more physical. We gave them a lot of easy looks and we can’t have that.”
Closing games: “As a unit, we have to learn how to win close games. We were disappointed with the three game losing streak and we could’ve done better, but coach is still evaluating guys and we’re working through matchups. We’ve got to do a better job of closing out games.”
His performance: “I wanted to go out tonight and do a lot of positive things. I just wanted to win this game and just want to help the team continue to win.”
On adjusting his scoring attack: “I’ve been pretty hot from three and obviously the defenses are going to make adjustments to run me off the three-point line. I was trying to get my defender in the air and make some pull-up jumpers.”
On the starting lineup: “The new lineup brought us some more toughness and from a defensive standpoint, it helped us and I thought we got off to a really great start. We had a lot of energy and it was good to get off the snide and end the losing streak before we go on the road.”
On what happened to the lead: “We had a 20 point lead and got a little too comfortable and they kept firing away and got hot, but I’m glad we got the win.”
What has to change: “We have to sustain the focus, effort and energy for the entire 48 minutes. This is the NBA, teams aren’t going to quit…To be a good team, you have to play the entire 48 minutes, no matter what.”
On having to grind out the win: “I don’t think we ran out of gas. We just didn’t do what we were supposed to do…I don’t think we did what we were supposed to do as a team, collectively. That’s something we have to improve upon.”
What is the root cause for losing a lead like the one they had: “It is little things, not anything big. It’s not like we’re missing a gap somewhere or anything. It’s just little things that add up.”
Bryan Gutierrez writes about sportsmen. He is a contributing writer for Mavs.com. Bryan also attended Ball So Hard University. You can follow him on Twitter @BallinWithBryan.