DALLAS –- The Dallas Mavericks are riding a four-game winning streak and are nine games over .500 for the first time in two years. If the Mavericks are starting to feel good about themselves, their coach isn’t showing it.
“We can’t start feeling too good,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. “Chuck Daly used to have one of his favorite sayings, ‘Don’t trust happiness.’ Especially in the NBA, because it can get you quickly if you start feeling too good about yourself.”
Mavericks guard Monta Ellis and All-Star forward Dirk Nowitzki combined for 42 points, as Dallas cruised to an easy 103-81 win Friday night over the slumping Utah Jazz at American Airlines Center.
“These are the kind of games you have to win,” Dallas point guard Jose Calderon said. “I think everybody had that in our minds before we started the game and we came ready to play, and everyone who stepped on the court did a great job tonight.”
The Mavericks had four players score in double figures, led by Ellis’ 22 and 20 from Nowitzki in only 26 minutes. Ellis did leave the court in the fourth quarter for the locker room with what Carlisle said might be a hamstring injury.
Dallas tied its largest margin of victory of the season and has won 21 of the last 24 meetings against the Jazz at American Airlines Center.
Calderon scored 12 and dished out seven assists, and center Samuel Dalembert added 12 points and six rebounds. The Mavericks knocked down 10 of 18 3-pointers (55.6) percent and scored 31 points off the bench.
“I like the way was played,” Carlisle said. “It’s a combative team we played. We held up over the 48 minutes and we did a lot of good things. Other than the beginning of the game, I thought we were very solid.”
Jazz forward Marvin Williams scored a team-high 21, but didn’t have a point in the second half. Utah shot only 40.8 percent (31-76) and was outrebounded 48-37.
“I thought they were the aggressive team,” Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. “They had the most energy. Give them credit, they executed better than we did. They made the shots when they did, they got all the 50/50 balls, and got second opportunities.
“One thing we can’t afford to do against anybody right now where we are as a team is have guys outwork us. I thought they outworked us tonight.”
The Mavericks (30-21) have won four in a row heading into a three-game Eastern Conference road trip starting Sunday at Boston. Dallas is nine games over .500 for the first time since February 2012.
Utah (16-33) is going in the opposite direction, losing four straight going into Saturday’s home game against Miami. The Jazz are averaging only 84.4 points during their losing skid.
Utah set a franchise record for 3-point attempts in a game with 35, making only 12.
“You get late in the clock because you don’t execute getting it down the floor,” Corbin said. “The ones at the end because we were trying to get back into the game. You got to make sure we take advantage of trying to go inside and out first. I thought we settled for some tonight.”
Williams terrorized the Mavericks in the first quarter, especially from deep. Williams did his best Nowitzki imitation by scoring Utah’s first eight points and 14 of the first 21 on 5-for-5 shooting, including four 3-pointers.
Williams finally missed a shot and took a seat on the Jazz bench. Perhaps not coincidently, the Mavericks reeled off a 12-0 run to take a 26-21 lead and finished the period up 28-23.
Dallas ripped off 11 straight points late in the second quarter to take its largest lead (52-37) of the game. The Mavericks went into the break leading 54-43 behind 13 points from Ellis and 12 from Nowitzki. Williams had 21 to top all scorers in the half.
Utah pulled within seven points in the third, but the Mavericks once again responded with a lead-building spurt. Dallas went into the final quarter comfortably on top 82-67.
NOTES: Dallas G Monta Ellis (game-high 22) and F Dirk Nowitzki (20) both scored 20-plus points in the same game for the 18th time this season (11-7 record). … The Jazz game began a stretch of four games for Dallas before the All-Star break against three teams with losing records. Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said before the game that despite his team’s “ups and downs,” this is the time to put the “pedal to the metal.” Dallas entered the game in eighth place in the West. … Utah F Derrick Favors returned to the starting lineup after missing two games with a hip injury. C Jeremy Evans was also back after being out two games with a bruised tailbone. … Dallas was leading the league in scoring over the previous 20 games. Nowitzki was averaging 29.8 points and shooting 62 percent over his last five games going into Friday.
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