The Dallas Mavericks fought hard in Cleveland, but ran out of time on their fourth quarter comeback attempt and fell to the Cavaliers, 99-98.
The Dallas Mavericks mounted multiple comebacks against the LeBron James-less Cleveland Cavaliers, but ultimately fell short as Kyrie Irving stepped up to fill his role. Irving led all scorers with 33 points (13-28 FG), and came up with a clutch
foul steal in the final moments to secure the victory.
The two teams traded 19-2 runs in the first half, the Mavericks using theirs to storm back into the contest just before intermission. Cleveland extended that lead back to 20 barely four minutes into the third quarter, but Dallas made one more push to make things competitive at the end behind J.J. Barea and Zaza Pachulia early in the fourth.
Nowitzki and David Lee scored 20 each for the Mavericks, as the team fell for the sixth time in seven games.
Coming in to the contest the Mavericks were tied for 7th place in the Western Conference with the Houston Rockets, who also faced a tough matchup Wednesday with the Los Angeles Clippers. Keeping pace with the Rockets and Blazers will be key for Dallas in avoiding the eighth seed and the Golden State Warriors.
It doesn’t get any easier for the Mavericks, who have Thursday off before hosting those Golden State Warriors and a home-and-home with Portland.
Player of the Game: Kevin Love
Easily could have gone with the game’s high-scorer here, but a big reason Cleveland was able to come away with the win was their dominance in the rebounding department. Kevin Love was a big reason for that, out-rebounding the entire Dallas starting unit, 18-14. Oh, and he chipped in 23 points and two blocks as well. A player like Love can make a small ball lineup pay dearly, and he did that tonight.
Stat of the Night
The Mavericks were out-rebounded by 16 on Wednesday, which was already mentioned but the biggest reason Dallas lost. The Mavs outperformed Cleveland almost everywhere else: turnovers, field goal percentage, free throws made and attempted, assists, and points in the paint. But they gave up 13 offensive rebounds that led to 15 Cleveland second chance points.