Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 1/17/13
And they call it the streak! Well, the Dallas Mavericks won’t, but we will. Dallas has now won 4 in a row, their longest winning “streak” this season and this is against one of the strongest, highest scoring teams in the NBA. This was, I think, one of the most exciting games this season. You might ask why, well I’ll tell you. Dallas is finally getting their groove back, Dirk is getting into form, all the guys are buying into a system that seems to be working, well at least for now anyway. Houston is sitting in the 8th seed in the Western Conference and has lost now 5 in a row, but prior to their demise, they were in the top grouping of the Conference and are #2 in the league in scoring, well by just a smidgen, Oklahoma City is #1 with averaging 105.41 points per game, where Houston averages 105.40 per game and Dallas was able to keep them at only 100. Now I realize that doesn’t sound like much of an undoing, but with the way this game was, it was a great accomplishment. The Rockets early 15-10 lead on Dallas, but when a regular timeout was called, Dallas then went on a 19-0 run before the end of the first quarter with a 29-18 lead. There were several runs by both teams, but once Dallas took the eventual lead during the first quarter, they never gave it up, came close in the fourth with a 97-97 tie, but still maintained their led that would also lead to their victory. Houston is a run and shoot type offense, that’s why they score high numbers and are not afraid to take the three point shot, especially with one of the toughest three point shooting threats in the game with James Harden. Dallas was, to an extent, able to contain him and even though he scored a team high 20 points, he had to take 23 shots to do it in. Harden was 5 of 23 from the field, which included only 1 of 8 from downtown and was 9 of 12 from the free throw line. So with the tough defense that Dallas put against him, between Shawn Marion and Dahntay Jones, they did their job. Jeremy Lin, the phenom from last year’s New York Knicks, didn’t have that great of a night also. He scored 19 points and was only 1 of 3 from downtown. Chandler Parsons was a horse of a different color in the three point category. He scored 18 points and was 4 of 6 from behind the arc and the big man in the middle Omer Asik got his 16th double-double of the season by scoring 12 points and grabbing 15 rebounds. Greg Smith had a strange stat for the night by scoring 0 points, but had 10 rebounds and 3 blocks. Houston finished the night with winning the rebound game with 52 rebounds and 40.7% from behind the arc by connecting on 11 of 27 three point attempts, but their problem was the 16 turnovers they committed which resulted in points for Dallas. Dirk, our new man in space, led the Mavericks in their victory with 19 points on 7 of 14 shooting and had 8 rebounds. Marion and O J Mayo each had 18 points for the night; Marion also had 9 rebounds and Mayo notched up 8 assists and was 12 of 13 from the free throw line. Darren Collison and Jae Crowder each added 10 points and Elton Brand, who had his 400th career double-double had 11 points and 10 rebounds. Not bad for a team that everyone said was pretty much done. Dallas also hit 34 of 43 free throw attempts for the night, finishing with 79.1% and only had 10 turnovers and 47 rebounds. The Mavericks are finally making people recognize that maybe they are still in contention for something in this league. At this time, Mayo is #10 in scoring averaging 18.3 points per game, where Dirk is currently averaging 13.7 points per game, but he has only played 13 games, so he’s not on the scoring list at this time, but he is making strides to get where he needs to be. It’s been a rough one for the Mavericks so far; their leader on the court missed the first 20+ games at the beginning of the season and even though he is back on the court in the starting line-up, he still has some conditioning to do to get where “he” feels he needs to be. There is a lot of talk about the All-Star game and should he or shouldn’t he be included in it. Dirk has never cared one way or the other about the All-Star game, even though he has been a part of it for the last 10+ years and feels that it’s an honor for the fans and/or coaches to chose him, but it matters none if he doesn’t make it.  At this point, I think it would be great for him to be included, and if he were chosen I feel that he would play, but I really think it would be best for him to take those couple of extra days and work more on his conditioning and getting a little bit more rest; but Dirk doesn’t know what that  part really means. Dallas had the heart and soul of a team that can do anything they want to, it’s just a matter of them putting it together and making it work on the court and they have done that over the last several games. Even though they have only won the last 4 games in a row, and that was preceded with several losses, some of those losses were close games, it was just a matter of closing them out and I think they are doing much better of that here lately. Case in point was in last nights game within the last 2 minutes. Lin tied the game up, 97-97, with 1:52 left in the game, but  Dallas was not through either. With a few field goals and free throws, Dallas got the lead back and kept it, but it was the defensive end that impressed me the most during that crucial point of the game. Harden was determined to score or to get a call and Dallas was determined to not let that happen and with defensive stops, Dallas prevailed as the victor. So where do we go from here? Dallas now will take on the Western Conference champs, Oklahoma City Thunder and then travel to face the Orlando Magic before coming home for anther stretch of home games. And with that, I will bid you all a good day and say good luck and let’s go Mavs!

This article first appeared on isportsweb.com and was syndicated with permission.

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