When the Dallas Mavericks knocked off the Miami Heat in Big D during Thanksgiving weekend, it served as both a sign that the Mavs were not to be trifled with, and that the Heat needed to make some adjustments.
The Mavericks, chins high, kept it rolling and reeled off seven more following the Heat victory to bring a 12-game winning streak into a match against the Bucks Monday night. The Heat haven't lost since that defeat in Dallas, taking a seven-game streak back home to meet the New Orleans Hornets.
Only one streak would survive. Cue the timpani.
Dallas was edged by the Bucks thanks to a mammoth game from Andrew Bogut, who just happened to be matched up against quasi-legit Defensive Player of the Year contender Tyson Chandler. Bogut shot 10-12 for 21 points; a dismal 1-6 night at the line prevented his output from being even more efficient. Bogey also racked up 14 rebounds (four offensive) and two blocks. A brilliant show for the Bogey Man, and something Milwaukee has sorely needed all season long.
The Bucks played even with the Mavericks all over the court, but won the game from behind the arc. Milwaukee, tied with Oklahoma City heading into Monday's action as the worst three-point shooting team in the league at 31.9 percent, hit nine of 13 from long-range; Dallas, a middle-of-the-pack team from downtown, shot just five of 20 on threes. Those extra makes made up for six-point Milwaukee deficit at the line.
The Bucks went on a three-minute-long 14-0 run in the fourth quarter to wrest the lead away from the Mavericks and create some cushion. The spurt featured four points from Brandon Jennings, two dunks by Bogut, threes from Ersan Ilyasova and (otherwise dreadful) John Salmons, and some ill-timed turnovers by Dallas vets Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry.
Golf clap for the Mavericks, though. Twelve wins shalln't be sneezed upon, especially when so many of the wins were in such convincing fashion.
In fact, let's take a look at the Mavs 12-game win streak in comparison to the Celtics' still-active 10-game skate and the Heat's (spoiler alert!) nine-game romp.
Yes, all nine of Miami's wins have been by more than 10 points. The Mavs won five of its 12 by at least double-digits, and Boston had six such wins during its streak. Impressive!
Chris Paul's teammates rebounded somewhat from an awful Sunday performance, but the vigilant Heat defense kept CP3 under wraps, holding the point guard to 11 points and five assists. Dwyane Wade sprung for 32, and was very mad about a Jarrett Jack flagrant in transition that wasn't really that bad. Chris Bosh had 11 rebounds, and is now averaging 11 a game over his last six.
Where the Heat's streak stop? The Cavaliers aim for revenge in Miami on Wednesday, and the Heat take their talents to Madison Square Garden on Friday. Should LeBron & Co. take care of those two foes and the Wizards, a return date with the Mavericks looms next Monday. Set your DVR. League Pass game of the century.
LeBron James thinks he's fancy or something.
In other action:
Bulls 92, Pacers 73: Indiana missed Danny Granger in every sense of the word as Chicago's starting five mowed down their Pacers counterparts. Carlos Boozer had 22 points and 18 rebounds, and Derrick Rose had 17 points and 12 assists. Indiana really, really needs Granger's offense to overcome the team's deficiencies on that end; the Pacers are just 21st in the NBA in offense. Indiana shot worse than 36 percent with Danny.
- Indy Cornrows bemoans Roy Hibbert's lackluster game against Joakim Noah; Blog-a-Bull credits Chicago's stifling defense.
Grizzlies 86, Blazers 73: Brandon Roy alert: he shot 3-16 in 38 minutes. His teammates couldn't overcome that efficiency drain, and Andre Miller's five turnovers didn't help, the Blazers are back under .500 at 12-13. The Grizzlies, meanwhile, inch ever closer to playoff contention themselves; the win, while not overwhelmingly pretty, showed the Memphis can win a game without its offense going off. That was rarely if ever the case last season. Ring the bells, Memphis' bench won the game, with O.J. Mayo having a (gasp!) fine performance (14 points on 5-10 shooting).
- Blazersedge discusses how the Portland offense fell apart late.
Jazz 108, Warriors 95: Utah kept Monta Ellis in a box (just 17 shot attempts in 40 minutes), and Deron Williams had a signature game, with 30 points and 10 assists in 34 minutes. Al Jefferson tied a career high with six blocks. Golden State pounded the offensive glass (18 in 48 opportunities), but it wasn't enough to make up for the Warriors' poor shooting (39 percent). Poor shooting, David Lee is thy name: Lee shot 3-15, marking the first time in the forward's career that he took at least 15 attempts and made fewer than five.