Deron Williams had the Dallas Mavericks offense humming Sunday, and the Mavs won their second straight as a result.
No. 8 tallied a double-double of 13 points and 10 assists to lead the Mavs to a 98-87 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves. Wesley Matthews paced Dallas in the scoring column. D-Will assisted on 14 of Matthews’ 19 points, including all four of his 3-pointers.
“That’s how we’ve got to play,” Matthews said. “That brand of basketball is fun. Everybody had energy, and you can feel it in the crowd. You know, we haven’t felt that in a long time, and we were moving the ball well. And they were team shots, as oppose to one-person shots.”
Deron didn’t waste any time sparking the Dallas offense. He dished down low to Harrison Barnes for a tough layup for the Mavs’ first points of the night. Later in the first Matthews dished to D-Will for a trifecta, and moments later, Deron paid his teammate back on a long-distance shot.
No. 8 sent three more assists out in the first period, one each to Barnes, Matthews and Devin Harris before checking out late in the first, helping Dallas to a 27-25 lead after one.
The Maverick bench went off to start the second quarter, and by the time D-Will checked back in at the 5:54, Dallas led 44-31. He immediately fed Barnes on a dunk. Deron later knocked down a three and set Matthews up for a 3-pointer of his own, and the Mavs maintained a 56-47 lead at the break.
No. 8 went to work early out of halftime, hitting from beyond the arc and feeding Dirk Nowitzki on a shot from distance to give the Mavs a 14-point lead, but the feisty young Wolves battled back, cutting the cushion down to just two, 68-66. But Deron answered the Minnesota run with a running jumper to spark an 11-4 Dallas run to end the third quarter.
Once again, the Dallas bench took the nine-point advantage to start the fourth quarter and gave the Mavs even more breathing room. D-Will checked and quickly helped turn a 12-point Dallas lead to 15, swiping a Ricky Rubio pass, which led to a Seth Curry three on the other end. Then, with 2:42 to go, Deron found the hot hand, dishing to Matthews on the dagger 3-pointer to throw salt on the Dallas victory.
“We’re doing better, and the key for us to win is going to be balanced on offense,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle concluded. “We need a lot of guys sharing the scoring responsibility and moving the ball, and it’s pretty clear we’re picking up the pace with Dirk and Barea back in there. You know, we’re showing signs of making some progress, and tonight two things were really important. We did a much better job on the boards, and I thought just our energy and determination were really terrific.”