MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders called it ‘popcorn basketball.’ For the Dallas Mavericks, it was just another night at the office.
Chandler Parsons led all scorers with 22 points to lead the Dallas Mavericks to a 98-75 win against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday at Target Center.
The win was Dallas’ third straight as the Mavericks improved to 9-3 in the month of January.
“Overall, it was a good effort,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. “We were down six, that wasn’t good but it’s a long game and just kept playing.”
Playing — and passing — they did.
Minnesota opened the game on a 9-4 run thanks to six quick points by Timberwolves forward Thaddeus Young. But the Mavericks responded with an 11-2 run to take the lead for good.
Saunders was disappointed with the Timberwolves’ lack of ball movement and taking shots too quickly.
It was everything the Mavericks weren’t doing.
While Minnesota finished with 89 shots attempts (shooting a paltry 34.8 percent), Dallas did more with less (76 attempts), possessing the ball longer and finding the right shot.
“They’re an offensive juggernaut,” Saunders said. “I call it ‘popcorn basketball’ because the ball is popping all around and defensively your head is spinning. That’s what we’ve gotta get to.”
Parsons scored 15 of his 19 points first-half points in the second quarter, scoring 10 consecutive points during one stretch and 13 of 15.
“I just got it going,” Parsons said. “Teammates did a great job finding me, everything seemed easier. I got a couple of good looks to start the game with a layup and a jumper in the lane. It was just one of those games where I got hot and teammates kept finding me.”
Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki finished with 16 points and nine rebounds. His long 3-pointer in the closing seconds of the first quarter gave the Mavericks a 24-21 lead after one.
Guard Devin Harris hit a pair of early threes in the second quarter to push the Dallas lead to nine before Parsons’ 10-point run stretched the lead to double figures.
The Mavericks led 59-38 at the half, shooting 56 percent from the field, including 8-for-13 from beyond the arc. They finished the game with 26 assists, led by former Timberwolf J.J. Barea, who had 10 assists off the bench.
Nowitzki hit another 3-pointer midway through the third quarter to give Dallas its largest lead of the night at 25. The Mavericks closed out the third quarter with an 18-point lead.
“I thought our defense to start the second half was good,” Carlisle said. “I thought (Rajon Rondo)’s activity on the ball was disruptive and made it hard for them to get anything they wanted. Then we moved it and got some good shots.”
The 75 points were the fewest scored by Minnesota were a season-low.
Rondo finished with nine points, including a dazzling drive to the rim in the third quarter featuring a fake behind-the-back pass that left the lane wide open.
Minnesota was led by rookie guard Andrew Wiggins’ 18 points. Young finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Timberwolves center Nikola Pekovic, playing for the first time since Nov. 15 after battling wrist and ankle injuries, came off the bench and scored 14 points and had four rebounds in 23 minutes.
“My legs get a little tired, but in the second half, I felt kind of better,” Pekovic said. “I felt a little more push in the fast break.”
Dallas finished shooting 51.3 percent from the floor. Minnesota shot 35.2 percent, including 2-of-15 from 3-point range.
Minnesota has now lost back-to-back games after winning two-of-three last week. Their seven wins are tied with the New York Knicks for fewest in the NBA.
NOTES: Mavericks G J.J. Barea made his first trip back to Minneapolis after his contract was bought out by the Timberwolves last summer. Barea finished the game with five points and 10 assists. … Timberwolves G Kevin Martin, who was listed as questionable, did not play due to a wrist injury. … Minnesota G Ricky Rubio was on the court before warm-ups taking jump shots as he recovers from an ankle injury. … Dallas returns home Friday to play the Chicago Bulls. … Minnesota plays host to the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday.
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