Raptors struggles continue in Dallas
DALLAS — The Dallas Mavericks have found an early groove without some key players.
O.J. Mayo and Chris Kaman each scored 22 points as the short-handed Mavericks won their third straight game, beating the Toronto Raptors 109-104 Wednesday night.
The Mavericks, who jumped out to a 16-point lead early in the second quarter, improved to 4-1 for the first time since 2007-08 despite playing without forwards Shawn Marion and Elton Brand. Marion was sidelined with a sprained left knee ligament, and Brand left the team to be with his wife for the birth of his second child.
In addition, 11-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki hasn’t played this season as he recovers from right knee surgery.
“We’ve got guys picking it up while guys are injured,” Kaman said. “We’re on a little bit of a roll and we’re just going to try to keep it going.”
Dallas shot 46 per cent after hitting more than 60 per cent of its shots in victories over Charlotte and Portland. The Mavericks have averaged 116.3 points during their winning streak.
“I liked the way we played for the most part,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “We had some lapses during the game, but the starting lineup got us off to a good start.”
Andrea Bargnani scored 25 points and DeMar DeRozan added 24 for the Raptors, who are 3-14 in Dallas. Starting point guard Kyle Lowry, the team’s leading scorer, didn’t play after spraining his right ankle Tuesday night against Oklahoma City.
The Raptors trailed by double digits most of the game before narrowing the lead to five in the final minute.
“The group we had in there played with a purpose,” Toronto coach Dwane Casey said. “They really put us in position to win the game after having a slow start.”
Vince Carter hit a pair of 3-pointers for Dallas in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter to spark a 10-3 run. Troy Murphy’s jumper put the Mavericks up 92-77 with 9:01 remaining before Toronto rallied.
Dominic McGuire’s layup cut Dallas’ lead to 105-99, and DeRozan hit a jumper to make it 109-104 with 31.5 seconds left.
The Raptors couldn’t get any closer as they missed a pair of 3-pointers in the final 10 seconds.
“It’s a process,” Casey said. “I can see us growing and getting better from this second half.”
After scoring 62 points in his previous two games, Mayo shot 8 for 17. Carter scored 17 points against his former club and Darren Collison chipped in 15.
Kaman, who missed the first two games of the season with a strained right calf, started in place of Brand and played 33 minutes. Mavericks rookie Jae Crowder made his first career start in place of Marion, who is expected to miss three games.
“I anticipated playing a little more with Elton out,” said Kaman, who also grabbed eight rebounds.
“I didn’t know it would be so much. I’m definitely not in the shape I was in before I got injured.”
The Mavericks led 61-50 and pushed their advantage to 15 points midway through the third quarter behind Mayo’s seven points.
The Raptors outscored the Mavericks 12-5 the rest of the period to get within 82-74, the closest they’d been since the first quarter.
Toronto’s Amir Johnson had 18 points and 11 rebounds off the bench, and Alan Anderson scored 13.