It probably wasn’t supposed to be this hard, but the
Mavericks rumbled to a 114-96 victory over Toronto Sunday evening at Air Canada
Centre with their biggest comeback of the season.
The Mavericks fell behind by 19 points in the first quarter,
but ended up ahead by 20 in the fourth, coasting to their biggest comeback win of
They had rallied from 15 down to beat the Los Angeles
Clippers on Jan. 25.
The Mavericks’ sixth consecutive win and 16th
in their last 17 games came in spite of no starter other than Dirk Nowitzki
scoring more than six points. It became apparent early that the Mavericks
weren’t going to have a fighting chance if Nowitzki didn’t come up
huge. And he did, with 31 points and 13 rebounds, proving he can still put the
Mavericks on his back when needed for long stretches.
But to be fair, it was the bench foursome of Shawn Marion,
Jason Terry, J.J. Barea and Ian Mahinmi that rescued the Mavericks.
They were dealt a bad hand from the start after not arriving
at their hotel in Toronto until almost 3 a.m. Sunday.
But the Raptors had problems of their own. Leading scorer
Andrea Bargnani was out with an illness, creating a 22-point hole in
That didn’t seem to bother them when they scored 18
consecutive points to go up 18-2 less than five minutes into the game.
The Mavericks missed 11 of their first 12 shots and they
allowed Toronto to make 10 consecutive shots as the lead reached 22-3.
At the end of the first quarter, the Mavericks’
starters had been outscored by Toronto’s starters 30-5.
It could not have looked bleaker until the bench gave the
Mavericks a pulse. Marion was causing havoc and that earned him the second-half
start in place of Peja Stojakovic.
The move paid quick dividends. Marion was part of the 11-0
run that put them in front 65-61, their first lead since 2-0.
The critical stretch came when the Mavericks opened the
fourth quarter with an 18-6 opening blitz to go up 93-78.