Dallas started the “second half” of the season on a good note as they recorded a 111-96 victory over the Orlando Magic. The Magic now are a whopping 3-26 since Dec. 20. The game was defined by one play. The Mavericks double digit lead in the first half quickly evaporated and they found themselves trailing by six points in the third quarter. Jameer Nelson stole the ball away from O.J. Mayo. Nelson passed the ball to J.J. Redick for a breakaway layup. Mayo hustled down the court and was able to pin the ball against the rim. He recovered the ball and delivered the high heat on a lob pass to Vince Carter for the slam dunk. The play triggered a 13-0 run. Dallas closed the game on a 21-8 run en route to the victory.
Some notes before the quotes:
- Vince Carter went 4-of-9 from beyond the arc against the Magic on Wednesday and recorded 14 points and a season-high eight assists in 26 minutes off the bench. It was his 10th game with four-plus 3-pointers this season. Carter had only one game with four-plus treys all of last year (5-7, at Phoenix 1/30/12). He has shot 14-of-23 (.609) from deep over his last three games. Carter has also hit at least one 3-pointer in each of his last 12 games. It’s tied for his longest such streak this season (he made at least one trey in 12 straight games from Nov. 17 through Dec. 12). Prior to this season, the last time Carter made at least one triple in 12 straight games was from Dec. 10, 2010 through Jan. 22, 2012, when they hit at least one 3-pointer in 16 consecutive games.
- Elton Brand went 5-for-6 from the field and 5-for-5 from the line before intermission and led all players with 15 points in 15 first-half minutes. It was the most points he scored in any half this season (previous high: 14 points in the first half vs. Minnesota Jan. 14). Brand finished with 17 points, five rebounds and two blocks in 25 minutes off the bench. The Mavericks improved to 3-1 this season when he scores 17-plus points in a game.
- Shawn Marion (17), Elton Brand (17), Vince Carter (14), O.J. Mayo (13), Dirk Nowitzki (12) and Mike James (season-high 12) all scored in double figures for Dallas in the win. The Mavericks improved to 11-5 this season when they have at least six players in double figures.
- The Mavericks recorded only nine turnovers against Orlando on Wednesday. The Mavericks have now recorded 12-or-fewer turnovers in each of their last five games.
- The 42 first-quarter points were the most by the Mavericks in any quarter this season (previous high: 40 points in second quarter vs. Washington Nov. 14). Prior to Wednesday’s game, the most points Dallas scored an opening quarter this year was 39 at Houston Dec. 8 (outscored Houston 39-24 in the first quarter). The Mavericks have now scored 30-plus points in the first quarter in three of their last four games.
Here is the quoteboard for Dallas’ victory over Orlando.
On the team’s fourth quarter defense: “Fourth quarter defense was a lot better than it had been in previous quarters, which was key. When they came back and got the lead, we toughened up defensively. The biggest thing was we needed to guard them without fouling because in the second quarter they got to the bonus with about seven minutes left and they marched 12 or 13 times to the line. You’ve got a team that played last night and you’re letting them rest and make shots while the clock is stopped is not a good way of doing business. The third quarter wasn’t good, but we recovered in the fourth – got the win which was important. Now we’ve got to get ready for Friday.”
On the Mavs’ third quarter run that began with O.J. Mayo’s block: “It’s as good a hustle sequence as we’ve had all year. I thought the timing of it couldn’t have been more key in the game. We were down six at the time and it was going to be eight. Instead, we go down and get a lob dunk, get another stop and then hit a three. That’s a huge swing; that’s a seven-point swing within seconds. If that doesn’t happen, we may be whistling a different tune right now. But it did, so we survived it, which is good. Now we’ve got to get ready for Friday and New Orleans is an improving team and they beat us last time. It’ll be another tough game.”
On the team’s strength and weaknesses tonight: “Thirty-two assists is a great number. The positives were the assists numbers were great, our start to the game was better. The defense in the first half was not good enough. They were shooting 60 percent most of the way through the first quarter. We were shooting it good, too, but we just don’t want to get into that mentality of trading shots and trying to outscore somebody. You’ve got to get traction and get stops to be the kind of team we want to be. In the fourth quarter we showed we can do it. Now we’ve got to bring it to the whole game and be able to sustain it. That’s a challenge we’re going to keep embracing.”
On Mike James’ performance: “I liked it. I like him. He does things hard. He’s kind of a microcosm of our team. He’s an experienced guy. He loves to play. We don’t have any perfect players on our team and we don’t have a perfect team. The thing we have to do, we have to stick together through thick and thin, we’ve got to remind ourselves to be in a defensive stance all the time and we’ve got to find ways to outlast opponents. That’s what we did tonight. I thought his performance tonight was really important.”
On the victory: “We have no room to enjoy any of the wins right now. We have to focus on the next game. This is a hole we dug ourselves. We dug this hole ourselves into this hole, so we have to find a way to fight out. Every time we win it’s one step closer to the goal.”
On the swing play that saw him block J.J. Redick’s shot that lead towards a lob dunk for Vince Carter: “It was momentum that was needed. We needed to get a little energy in the building.”
On how O.J. Mayo’s block and lob pass changed the game: “Obviously, the crowd wasn’t into it much because we gave them nothing to cheer for. That play really turned everything around. First of all, I thought he should’ve gotten on the ground for the loose ball so it never would have gotten that far. He made a heck of a play to recover. He blocked the shot and brought it up and threw it up way to high for everybody else. Vince is the one guy that can get up there and get it.”
On calling for the lob pass from O.J. Mayo: “I’m dumb sometimes; I’ll try to get it anyway. I believe if somebody throws me a lob, that’s the respect factor and I have to go get or try to. It just stuck in my hand long enough to bring it to the rim.”
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.