The Mavericks seemed to be a finely tuned engine purring their way to a seventh straight win, but things aren’t always what they seem.
With a twenty plus halftime lead that crept up to a twenty five point lead in the third quarter, ended up being a close game down the stretch.
The third quarter was once the power quarter for the Mavericks, yet the last two games they have been outscored by more then ten points each game. It seemed as though the intensity was taken away, and the New Orleans Hornets took advantage of that.
Led by Dirk Nowitzki’s 36 points, the Mavericks never seemed to lose control of the game; they just put in on cruise control for most of the second half. Down the stretch the defense was tightened up, as the Mavericks pulled off their seventh straight win.
The win pulled the Mavericks to within a half game of the Denver Nuggets for the second position in the West behind the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers beat the Nuggets this afternoon.
The Mavericks welcomed back Caron Butler to the starting lineup after Butler sat out the last two games. An obvious lift to an already powerful attack the last seven games, Butler made his presence felt on both ends of the court.
Carlisle was able to give Jason Kidd some rest on the bench after really asking a lot out of Kidd the last couple of games. Kidd sat out the whole second quarter, and got a long stretch of rest in the second half as well.
“As much as I want to play every minute of the game, it feels good to be able to rest. Collison made me run around tonight on the defense side of the court, so the rest will help me tomorrow night.”
The Mavericks have a quick turnaround tomorrow night.
Jason Terry wasn’t eager to admit they put it in cruise control, but he did admit they loosened up on the intensity. “The Hornets played well. We went cold during a stretch which is something you don’t want to do as a team, but overall we played well and got a win.”
“We’re winning games right now, and positioning ourselves for the playoffs. We are concentrating on winning the game when we walk on the court. It’s natural to look to see where we stand, but like we found out tonight we cannot lose the intensity.”
The Mavericks play in Charlotte tomorrow night to extend the winning streak to eight.