The Dallas Mavericks started their do-or-die homestand with a solid 105-99 win over the Portland Trail Blazers. In his return to the team after sitting out one game due to illness, Vince Carter hit a 3-pointer with 1.9 seconds left in the third quarter sparked an 18-4 run by the Mavericks that saw them turn a five-point deficit (82-77) into a nine-point advantage (95-86) with 4:41 to go in the game. He tallied 17 points in 25 minutes off the bench. Carter scored 17-plus points for the fifth time in his last eight games.
With the win, coach Rick Carlisle recorded his 500th career win against the Blazers on Wednesday. He improved to 500-353, .586, all-time in the regular season. He became the 28th coach in NBA history to reach the milestone. He is in his fifth season with Dallas and is now 219-142 (.607) all-time with the club. Carlisle, who recorded his 500th victory in his 853rd game, became the 11th-fastest coach in NBA history to reach 500 wins. He also became the 16th coach with 500 wins and an NBA title.
Quick notes before the quotes:
- Dallas handed Portland just its second loss of the season when leading after three (Portland moved to 17-2 when leading going into the fourth quarter). Dallas improved to 4-22 this season in games they trailed at the end of the third quarter.
- Dallas moved to 9-23 in games where they fell behind by at least 10 points.
- Dallas held Portland to 38 points in the second half after giving up 61 in the first half. They also held Damian Lillard to only four points in the second half after he went off for 15 points in the first half.
- The Mavericks outshot the Blazers 6-of-10 (.600) to 1-of-14 (.071) from beyond the arc in the second half. Portland shot 9-of-16 (.563) from deep in the first half, while Dallas went 4-of-10 (.400) from beyond the arc before intermission.
- O.J. Mayo totaled 20-plus points for the third time in his last four games (20th time this season). Dallas is now 13-7 this season when he scores at least 20 points. He led the Mavericks in scoring for the 23rd time this year.
- Shawn Marion recorded his 11th double-double of the season (415th career) and his third in his last four games with 13 points and a game-high-tying 10 rebounds in 31 minutes.
- Dirk is working on a beard (explanation is coming later). #GoatfaceDrillah
Here is the quoteboard for the Dallas victory over Portland.
When do you feel the game got out of your control? “I don’t know that it was ever necessarily out of our control. They made a little push in the middle of the fourth quarter and got it up to 7 or 9, but we came down [and] we had a shot to tie it. So, I don’t know if it ever necessarily got that we lost control of the game. I don’t know if we were ever in control of the game.”
What changed in the 2nd half as far as your offense was concerned? “I think both teams got more aggressive defensively. Both locker rooms were probably saying the same thing – that we gave up too many points in the first half. We had 61, they had 57. Both teams made adjustments. I thought they were more aggressive picking up our point guards, [and] trying to disrupt the back court. But, I think both teams played more aggressively defensively in the second half.”
On the defense on him in second half: “I don’t think it was anything they did…everything I had in the first half wasn’t there. I think our guys started to make shots, so there wasn’t really a need for me to go out there and try to force myself and score the ball. I probably should have stayed aggressive while the other guys stepped up. They did a better job of guarding me, but I could have done a better job on getting to the spots I got to in the first half.”
On getting win No. 500: “As Coach [Jim] O’Brien said walking through the tunnel, it means I’ve been around a long time; I’m getting old. But it means I’ve had a lot of good players. It’s meaningful, but I’m not into those kinds of things. I’m into the day-to-day stuff. One relief I have is I think after tomorrow I won’t have to hear about it again for a while, so that’s good. I’m proud of the way the guys played; very tough game – kind of a mirror image of the game in Portland. They had their way with us early, we had to fight back. The guys did a good job of fighting and that’s how the games are going to be. That’s what we’ve got to prepare for here in this homestand.”
On Vince Carter’s game: “There’s a reason he’s such an important guy to us. People key on the offensive stuff, but he’s just a big team guy. He’s one of our leaders. He’s better on defense than most people give him credit for. All year long, he’s been one of our facilitators. He came up with a couple big ones for us when the shot clock was down. One play where Darren [Collison] hit him late in the shot clock – that was huge…. We need him. When he misses a game like he did the other night, you can tell.”
On what changed defensively in the second half: “Better ball pressure on Lillard. I thought Collison and Roddy [Beaubois] both picked it up and made it harder on him. They play their starters a lot of minutes so we wanted to keep energy going, keep energy in the game. Fortunately, they missed a few down at the end. These games are hinging on a made or missed shot here or there. We were able to come up with some big rebounds. O.J. [Mayo] dug a ball out one time which was a big play. We did a couple of other things defensively, but mostly it was just disposition and attitude.”
On the homestand: “I think we’ve got a good chance to put some wins together before the break.”
On the team congratulating coach Carlisle after the game: “He tried to ignore it.”
On the defensive change in the second half: “I think we became the aggressors. We came out and hit them first and attacked them first and put them on their heels. It helped open some things up for us. It was a slow process, but we gradually were able to get control of the game. We needed it.”
On Carlisle’s 500th win: “I could’ve sworn he won more games than that because it’s like he’s been coaching for about 20 years but I guess not. It’s a great accomplishment and I’m happy to be a part of it.”
On his shooting performance: “It felt good coming off my hands. I was just trying to be aggressive.”
On Carlisle’s 500th win: “Hopefully I can be a part of getting many more to come for him.”
On hitting the clutch free throws: “It was good. I can’t wait for the opportunity to be down 2 or up 1 and get to make two. I’m looking forward to it.”
The mindset going forward: “We just need to take it one game at a time. …We can’t say it and not do it.”
On his reverse slam: “That was an out of body experience.”
On Carlisle’s 500th win: “It’s obviously a fun accomplishment for a coach. That means he’s been around a minute. That means he’s got some experience. I’m happy to be a part of the ultimate win and that was winning the championship for him. That was everybody’s dream. I’m glad I got to reach it with him.”
On Vince Carter’s dunking ability: “He can still get up and finish with the best of them.”
On if his wife likes the beard: “Not really. We’re not going to shave until we’re back to .500. It’s been rough and there’s been some itching going around. Since we’re still down seven games below .500, that’s a long way to go.”
Note: The earliest the Mavericks can get back to .500 is Feb. 26. In addition to Dirk, Vince Carter, Dahntay Jones and O.J. Mayo aren’t shaving until they get back to .500. It’s a win-win for most everyone, as long as you’re not a member of the Mavericks. The solidarity would either lead to Dallas getting back on track or you’re going to see an epic beard from Dirk. If they do get on track, why would you ditch what worked? I’m just jealous because I can’t grow a beard to save my life. Here’s to a glorious beginning to the Goatface Drillah.
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.