NEW YORK — Coming into Friday night, Brooklyn Nets forward Mirza Teletovic had a career-high of 19 points. Within six minutes of coming on in the second quarter, he already tied that mark on his way to a career-best 34 points. Every single one was needed as the Brooklyn Nets remain the hottest team in January with a 107-106 win over the Dallas Mavericks.
The Nets are now 9-1 this month.
“It proves that we are a serious contender,” Teletovic said. “Dallas is one of the best teams in the NBA. They’ve proven it so many times and just to get a win against them, it’s tough.”
Trailing from the second quarter on, the Mavericks battled back to within three points with 8.1 seconds left after Nets forward Paul Pierce missed a pair of free throws.
Fouling Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki on the inbound, he made the first, intentionally missed the second, but it was rebounded by Nets forward Andrei Kirilenko, who iced the game at the free throw line. A three-pointer from Mavericks guard Monta Ellis with .6 seconds left was too little, too late.
“We were just poor defensively as a team,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. “Mirza Teletovic hit his first couple of shots and we just let him keep going and you just can’t do that with professional shooters.”
Teletovic single-handedly kicked a sluggish game into gear and gave his side its insurmountable lead with a big-time second quarter. The Bosnian hit his first three, 3-pointers, all in succession, as he posted 24 points in the frame, including a career-high 19 in his first six minutes.
“Once I got in the game and I made one three-pointer, Deron (Williams), Joe (Johnson), Paul (Pierce), KG (Kevin Garnett) everybody just started saying ‘give him the ball’,” Teletovic said. “I had wide open shots.”
An 8-2 Mavericks run to start the third quarter cut the Nets double-digit lead to as small as five, but Brooklyn answered quickly to regain its cushion momentarily.
“We weren’t fighting hard enough,” Carlisle said. “Second half, we fought hard in the third and fourth quarters. We weren’t making shots the way we’re capable of.”
Dallas would not go quietly, using two former Nets to get back into the game.
Forward Vince Carter was the Mavericks’ most productive man with 19 points coming off the bench. Carter, a former member of the New Jersey Nets, played for the organization from 2005-09. Guard Devin Harris, who played for the Nets from 2007-11 added 14 points and four rebounds before fouling out with six minutes left in the fourth.
Nowitzki became the latest victim of the Nets ever-improving defense, recording 18 points. Dallas’ second-leading scorer, Ellis who averages 20.0 points per game, was held to just seven points in the first half. He finished with 16.
Coming off the bench for a third consecutive game was Nets guard Deron Williams. Williams took over quickly for guard Shaun Livingston, recording a double-double with 18 points and 11 assists.
“The guys competed. Our bench was big tonight, but everybody contributed,” Nets coach Jason Kidd said. “In the fourth quarter, we probably gave up a little bit one too many points, but before that, the guys fought…We found ourselves winning a ball game that maybe in 2013 we would have lost.”
Pierce and Garnett complimented Teletovic’s leading performance with 12 and 10 points, respectively, as both former-Celtics are starting to settle into their new roles as supporting veterans. Garnett, with 11 rebounds, recorded his second double-double of the season.
“It just shows the depth that we’re starting to exploit against other teams,” Pierce said. “The good thing is, we have a number of people that are contributing. That’s the beautiful thing about this team.”
Before Teletovic’s introduction to the game in the second quarter, the Nets were shooting 8 of 20 from the field. During his blistering six-minute run, the Nets shot 10-of-12, opening up an 11-point halftime lead.
“Mirza was going good pretty much the whole night,” Kidd said. “He’s been working extremely hard at this game.”
NOTES: The Nets’ 8-1 record in January coming into Friday night was the best in the NBA. … At 25-19, the Mavericks hold the eighth seed in the Western Conference. If playing in the East, they would be the three seed. … In his 15th season, Mavericks F Dirk Nowitzki is averaging 21.1 points per game, good for 13th in the league. … Nets G Shaun Livingston continues to start despite the return of guard Deron Williams. The three-time NBA All-Star continues to come off the bench in order to keep the team’s chemistry intact. … Nets coach Jason Kidd and G Jason Terry will be facing one of their former coaches, Randy Carlisle. … Mavericks Gs Vince Carter and Devin Harris spent time with the Nets while they were in New Jersey. Carter was with the Nets from 2005-09 and Harris from 2007-11.
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