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News » Loud 'n clear Stirred Mavs answer Cuban's criticism with resonant win


Loud 'n clear Stirred Mavs answer Cuban's criticism with resonant win


Loud 'n clear Stirred Mavs answer Cuban's criticism with resonant win
The San Antonio Spurs arrived as the titan of the Southwest Division. The Mavericks came in more like the Titanic.

That being the case, Wednesday night offered proof that, whether their ship is sinking, the Mavericks still can occasionally take down the iceberg.

Two nights after a weak effort in Oklahoma City had owner Mark Cuban publicly calling out the team, the Mavericks poured heart and soul into a 107-102 victory over the division-leading Spurs at American Airlines Center.

Maybe it was predictable that the Mavericks would come back with a salty effort after getting embarrassed Monday. Maybe it was another wake-up call in a season when the alarm has been constantly going off and the Mavericks have continually hit the snooze button.

Whatever. They got exactly what they needed with crisp ball movement and solid execution to beat one of the legitimate title contenders and increased their lead over Phoenix to three games in the race for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Josh Howard had 29 points, Dirk Nowitzki had 24 and Jason Kidd threw in 17. All three had crucial buckets late that cemented the win.

"It's a big win for us, especially after our last performance," said Kidd, whose 3-pointer with 31 seconds left put the Mavericks up, 105-100.

Cuban danced off the court with the players, who understood why he threatened repercussions if non-efforts like Monday's were repeated.

"He was just as excited as we were afterward," said Kidd, who resurrected a pick-and-roll out of last season's playbook that helped stake the Mavericks to a fourth-quarter lead.

Then, they made three big-time plays to preserve the win. They had led 98-88 - the only time either side led by double figures - before Tony Parker led a Spurs charge.

His free throws made it 100-98 with 1:17 left. But Howard pump-faked Tim Duncan into the air and found a wide-open lane to the basket.

"It parted like the Red Sea," said Howard, who played with a sore left ankle. "I was going to shoot the jumper, but when I saw that, I had to change it up. This was big for us. We've shot ourselves in the foot a few times lately. We needed this."

After Parker hit two more free throws, the Mavericks moved the ball around, with Nowitzki hitting Jason Terry, who drew the defense and fed Kidd in the corner for his triple.

After that, Erick Dampier blocked a Parker drive, one of Dampier's four blocks. Parker had 37 points, but it was Dampier's defense that helped hold Duncan to 7-for-21 shooting.

Looking for right response: Cuban had some interesting second-day comments about his rant Tuesday about how the players must show more passion for their craft or face the possibility of not being with the Mavericks next season.

Asked if it's possible to turn over a roster in one year, he said: "I don't know. We'll find out. Or, hopefully, we won't find out."

As for how he hoped the Mavs would respond to his criticism, Cuban said he believes in his players' collective character.

"It's a lot more painful [than] going to the dentist," he said. "We all want to win, and when you don't win, it hurts."

Before and after

Mark Cuban's tirade after the Mavericks' loss to lowly Oklahoma City on Monday brought quick results. A Mavs statistical comparison between Monday (first number) and the victory Wednesday:

FG pct.

42.5

53.6

3FG pct.

29.2

47.4

Assists

17

25

Blocks

2

9

Turnovers

12

9

Points

87

107

Mavericks SCHEDULE

MARCH

Day Date Opponent TV Time

Thu. 5 at New Orleans TNT 7:00

Sat. 7 Washington FSSW 7:30

Tue. 10 at Phoenix Ch. 21 9:00

Wed. 11 at Portland Ch. 21 9:00

Fri. 13 at Golden State Ch. 21 9:30


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: March 7, 2009

 

 
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