NBA: Adversity doesn’t slow down streaking Mavericks
By Gerry Fraley
The Dallas Morning News
DALLAS — No Jason Terry. No Brendan Haywood. No Rick Carlisle.
No problem for the Mavericks.
As their manpower situation continued to deteriorate, the Mavericks pushed their winning streak to 10 games on Friday night. They overcame injuries, an ejection of their coach and another fourth-quarter fizzle to defeat the Sacramento Kings, 108-100, in a showing that spoke of creativity under fire.
“We’ve got to improvise,” said Dirk Nowitzki, who rallied from a 2-for-10 start from the field to score 31 points. “We’ve still got enough players.”
The Mavericks knew they would be without Terry, who underwent facial surgery in the afternoon. They lost Haywood in the first quarter because of lower-back tightness, and his status for tonight’s game at Chicago is in doubt. Carlisle was ejected in the second quarter for barking about a series of non-calls on Nowitzki drives to the goal.
Those circumstances forced the Mavericks into some unusual combinations.
At times, it seemed as if Don Nelson had returned with his beloved “small-ball” lineups, or Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim had sneaked into American Airlines Center and installed his zone defenses.
Jason Kidd shuttled between shooting guard and small forward in addition to his usual work at point guard. Shawn Marion alternated between small forward and center. At times, Nowitzki served as a de facto center.
And Roddy Beaubois played Terry’s role of off-the-bench igniter, scoring 22 points.
“It was all about holding it together,” Carlisle said.
“Our health situation is not great, but we’re going to have to roll with who we have and keep finding ways to win.”
The working term for the rotation at the guard spots and small forward was “fluid.” The Mavericks found their best combination late in the second quarter, immediately after Carlisle’s ejection. They took off with a backcourt of J.J. Barea and Beaubois, while Kidd played small forward.
The Mavericks trailed by 10 when that trio debuted with 6:37 remaining in the half. Led by Beaubois, the Mavericks outscored Sacramento, 19-10, for the remainder of the half.
Beaubois played Terry’s dual role of scorer-catalyst to the hilt. In a sequence of three possessions, Beaubois threw in a 3-pointer, drove by 7-1 center Spencer Hawes for a traditional three-point play and finished off a fast break with another score. Beaubois’ show energized the Mavericks.
“We needed that extra energy Roddy brings,” Marion said.
Beaubois has had two consecutive strong games. The telling statistic is the Mavericks have had a 16-point advantage with Beaubois playing and have been outscored by five points with him on the bench. Things like this happen during long winning streaks.
Carlisle praised assistants Dwane Casey and Terry Stotts, who divided coaching responsibilities. “That’s why you bring good people in,” Carlisle said. . . . The Von Wafer era ended with the reserve guard never taking the floor. His 10-day contract expired, and a league source said the Mavericks will not retain Wafer. Haywood’s back condition could force the Mavericks to replace Wafer with a front-court player. . . . If there is a sure thing in the NBA, it is Nowitzki shooting free throws in the fourth quarter. He made all seven tries, extending his fourth-quarter streak to 27. Four of the free throws came after Sacramento had closed to within 102-100.