Mavs beat Toronto, face Knicks Friday
Published: Thursday, November 8, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 17:11
The Dallas Mavericks beat Toronto 109-104 Wednesday to sweep its three-game home stand.
Last season Dallas started off 1-4, but this year the Mavs are 4-1 for the first time since 2007.
“We have a lot more legs. We’re a lot younger,” center Brandan Wright said. “There’s a lot more bodies that are interchangeable, so this year it shouldn’t be a thing where we run out of gas or anything like that.”
The Mavericks lost all-star forward Dirk Nowitzki in the offseason after a knee injury and surgery that sidelines him for at least another six weeks.
In his absence Dallas has played solid team-oriented basketball led by the consistency of its back court.
Point guard Darren Collison has averaged 16.2 points, 7.2 assists a game and has two double-doubles this season. O.J. “Juice” Mayo, is shooting 63.6 percent from downtown, 50 percent from the field and is averaging 21.6 points a game with 3.2 assists.
Mayo’s offensive presence early this season led to Toronto’s double teams. Mayo responded with 22 points and a team-high 6 assists.
“You just have to deal with it,” Mayo said. “They’re trying to switch it up and make us play differently but we have a good team so there’s no problem giving it up and trusting the other guys to make plays.”
On Monday, Mayo’s 25th birthday, Dallas hosted Portland in what was supposed to be a tough, grind-it-out physical game. Instead, the Mavs held a scoring clinic, and beat Portland 114-91 with Mayo shooting a flurry of 3-pointers and a season-high 32 points.
Heading into Wednesday’s matchup against the Raptors Dallas was without Nowitzki, Shawn Marion (knee), Roddy Beaubois (ankle) and Elton Brand who was in New York for his wife’s delivery.
Marion is the Mavs’ “x-factor.” He is long, athletic and plays both sides of the ball.
In his absence, Vince Carter gave Dallas what it needed in the second half by hustling up and down the court making plays.
“For what [Marion] brings to the table defensively, rebounding and running the floor, everyone has to pick it up,” Carter said. “I think for everyone it was important for us to just play our game.”
In the team’s five games the Mavs have the No.2 offense in the league with an average of 108 points per game.
Dallas is also averaging 41.4 rebounds, 24.6 assists a game and is shooting 50.5 percent from the field and 48.5 from downtown. The Mavericks margin of victory is third in the league at +8.8 while the team’s next opponents, the New York Knicks, come in at No.1 with +19.34.
“New York is a legit championship-contending team now, especially with [Jason] Kidd,” Carlisle said. “So that’s going to be a different kind of test for us.”
Friday will mark the first game against former point guard Kidd who left the team during the offseason to play for the New York.
Owner Mark Cuban was very disappointed in Kidd’s decision to leave since the Mavericks offered him a deal similar to the one he took in New York.
Friday’s battle is set to tip off in New York at 7:30 p.m. ET.