Deron Williams and the Dallas Mavericks couldn’t knock off the red-hot Utah Jazz Friday night on the second night of a back-to-back, but they made up for it on Sunday, trampling the Los Angeles Lakers at the American Airlines Center.
The Jazz brought a four-game win streak to Dallas, and D-Will and the Mavs nearly stopped it there, taking Utah into overtime but falling 112-107. Deron had a solid night with 16 points, eight assists and four rebounds. Seven players were in double figures for Dallas, but it wasn’t quite enough.
“It was just a couple of momentum plays,” said Mavs guard Devin Harris. “I think when we let them get the free-throw rebound and they hit the three, it was a big play. It just came down to them making more plays towards the end of the game.”
No. 8 assisted on a Seth Curry 3-pointer for Dallas’ first points of the night, but it was a defensive battle early with Dallas taking a 22-19 lead into the second frame.
In the second, Deron scored his first points and assisted Harrison Barnes on a jumper to offset a pair of makes from D-Will’s former Brooklyn Nets teammate, Joe Johnson. However, Utah claimed a 46-41 lead at halftime.
Early in the third period, the Mavs rallied behind three assists and a 3-pointer by D-Will. Deron dished on a jumper by Dirk Nowitzki, as well as a three and a dunk from Barnes. The Jazz maintained their lead, though, and Dallas trailed 72-68 going into the fourth.
Dallas fought to an 83-83 tie when Deron re-entered at the 5:26 mark of the final period. D-Will’s fourth included two clutch free throws with 1:16 on the clock, and an assist on the biggest shot of the night: a game-tying trey by Curry with 28 seconds left on the clock.
Deron dealt assists to Barnes and Dwight Powell early in the extra period. He later earned a tough old-school 3-point play, scoring on the interior and drawing a foul from Joe Ingles. He finished at the line to give the Mavs a 105-103 lead. No. 8 scored again on the following possession to stretch the gap to three, but a 3-pointer by Johnson and a pair of free throws off the hand of Ingles put Utah up for good.
MAVS TRAMPLE LAKERS
Two nights later, the Mavs left no doubt against Los Angeles in a 122-73 trouncing.
D-Will had the offense humming with 13 points, eight assists and five rebounds. All 12 Mavericks to play scored, including seven players in double figures and 10 players with seven or more points. Meanwhile, only two Lakers were in double figures, neither of whom were starters.
“You know, it was a good win and a much-needed one at that,” Matthews said. “You know, that was a good feeling. We came out and we played with the right mentality, the right demeanor, and shots were falling. And most importantly, we were playing good defense. Everybody contributed, and that was good to see.”
Deron accounted for four of Dallas’ first six points. He later assisted on 3-pointers by Curry and Matthews, as well as a basket by Barnes, but the Lakers stayed in it, and the Mavs led by just seven, 29-22, after one.
Dallas took over in the second, dominating the quarter 38-11. The Mavs had already done a wealth of work, claiming an 18-point lead by the time D-Will entered at the 6:33 mark. It took just 26 seconds for Deron to drain a long two and make it a 20-point Maverick advantage. Shortly thereafter, he hit a floater and a trifecta to make it a 24-point cushion. No. 8 closed the quarter with three more assists—two to Matthews and one to Dirk—and Dallas held a commanding 67-33 lead going into the locker room.
“Obviously, I didn’t see that coming,” Nowitzki said. “It was a quick turnaround from our back-to-back, and they obviously had some key guys out. They started a little unconventional without a point guard, and really we attacked that lineup really well from the beginning. We jumped out to a nice little lead, and you know how it is in this league. Usually one team gets up early, and the other team fights back to make it a close game. But we never really let that happen. This is really our first huge win of the year that I can remember, and we’ll take it. We’ll get some rest for everybody, and have two good work days ahead of us before we have another tough back-to-back.”
The Mavericks cruised from there, earning D-Will and the starters a spot on the sidelines and some rest for the entire fourth quarter. No. 8 checked out with 2:16 to go and the Mavs holding a 33-point lead and watched as the second unit ran away from the Lakers in the final period.
Dallas is back in action Wednesday to host the New York Knicks. Tipoff is set for 7:30 CT from the American Airlines Center.
The contest will be the first night of a back-to-back. Deron and Co. will travel to Oklahoma City for a critical Thursday night meeting with the Thunder, nationally broadcast on TNT.