After this game, the Mavericks go on the West Coast for the remainder of their trip—playing the Los Angeles Clippers, Portland, Golden State and Seattle. The trip is the longest of the season for Dallas, which is 13-6 on the road.
The Mavericks won for the fifth time in six games Monday, a 114-95 rout of the Milwaukee Bucks. It was the fourth time in the last six games they have topped 110 points after doing so just three times in their first 32 games.
“Offensively, we really were able to get anything we wanted,” Dirk Nowitzki said. “We were moving the ball well, we were penetrating. We got open shots and we’re at our best when running and moving the ball like we did.”
Nowitzki had 35 points, making 14-of-21 shots from the field, and Josh Howard added 21 points and 11 rebounds.
Erick Dampier, who didn’t start for the second game in a row after starting the first 36 of the season, had seven rebounds and two assists in his first five minutes. He finished with 10 rebounds in 14 minutes off the bench, and Mavericks coach Avery Johnson likes the energy Dampier brings as a reserve.
“I expected him to rebound really hard and go after blocked shots. That’s what he did,” Johnson said of Dampier. “He had one block on paper, but got up and tipped some balls. … Now Damp is playing against some backups. That makes a difference, especially right now.”
Dampier had two blocks and three defensive rebounds against the Nets. DeSagana Diop, who replaced Dampier in the starting center spot, went scoreless with six rebounds and two blocked shots in 28 minutes against the Bucks.
“I just went out to rebound and do whatever I can to get my hands on the ball and defend,” Dampier said. “I’ve always been a rebounder and I can block shots. Whenever I get the opportunity, I try to make the most of it.”
Houston continues to struggle without star Tracy McGrady.
McGrady missed his fourth straight game and the Rockets lost 94-83 on Monday to the Atlanta Hawks. Houston fell to 0-12 without McGrady, who has been plagued by back spasms all season. He leads the team in scoring at 25.3 points per game.
“We’re not getting it done when it counts,” said Houston’s David Wesley, who had 10 points.
“The frustration just keeps building with every game we lose. We feel like, ‘This is our game, this is our game, this is our game.’ We come in here, talk about the same stuff. It’s frustrating.”