Playing the front end of a two-game road trip, Deron Williams and the Dallas Mavericks couldn’t overcome a fast start by the Minnesota Timberwolves, falling 101-92 at the Target Center on Monday.
“This is a disappointing loss,” teammate Dirk Nowitzki said. “It doesn’t really matter how many points we scored. This is a tough one.”
D-Will tallied 11 points and a team-best seven assists, while Harrison Barnes led the Mavs with 30 points and Nowitzki finished with 26.
Dallas shot 46 percent from the floor and 46 percent (13-of-28) from three-point range, while the home team shot 56 and 38 percent (6-of-16), respectively. While the Mavs beat the T-Wolves from deep, Minnesota got out in transition for 17 points and got in the paint for 44.
Karl-Anthony Towns scored 20 of his 34 points in the first quarter, helping Minnesota outscore Dallas 33-19 in the period.
“Towns got off to a great start, and we had a lot of turnovers,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. “Towns’ fast start and our six turnovers in the first quarter really were our undoing in the game. It just put us in a big hole that ultimately we couldn’t dig out of.”
Towns opened the game with intensity, scoring 10 of the first 12 points for Minnesota. D-Will did all he could to counter, scoring four of the first six for Dallas — flipping in a reverse layup and pulling up for a jumper — but the T-Wolves jumped out to a 12-6 advantage before taking a 33-19 advantage into the second stanza.
Still, the game was not lost, and the Mavs remained aggressive in the second period. Minnesota pushed its lead to as many as 21, 44-23, before Deron intervened by either assisting or scoring on three of Dallas’ next four field goals.
The Mavs continued to chip away, as Nowitzki scored a trifecta of triples to end the half. D-Will found Nowitzki for the final two, helping Dallas pull within 54-46 to go into the break.
“Every time I felt like we fought our way back, we shot ourselves in the foot a little bit,” said Nowitzki, who led the game with nine second-quarter points. “We had some turnovers, we had some bad misses, we had some missed rebounds and some missed bounces here and there. There were some loose balls we’ve got to get, and just weren’t good enough overall to make them really grind for that one. We just never really got close enough and got over the hump to maybe take the lead one time and really make them sweat.”
The T-Wolves pushed their lead back to double figures in the third quarter, but the Mavs used a 14-3 run to pull within five, 70-65. D-Will highlighted the run with a pair of passes before capping it within a finger roll layup.
The Mavs pulled within three twice over the final two minutes of the third period, but that was the closest they came to swapping the lead in their favor.
Deron and the Mavs conclude their two-game road trip at the Phoenix Suns on Thursday, Jan. 12. Tipoff from the Talking Stick Resort Arena is set for 9 p.m. CT.
Dallas and Phoenix most recent met on Jan. 5. D-Will scored 10 of his 20 points in the final frame, tying it at 93-all, but the Suns closed the contest with a 9-2 run to win their sixth straight.
Eric Bledsoe (20.4ppg, 5.8apg), Devin Booker (19.2ppg, 3.1apg) and Tyson Chandler (14.3ppg, 11.7rpg) lead Phoenix in production.