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Mavericks 102, Cavaliers 97

The SportsXchange

CLEVELAND -- Guard Monta Ellis scored a team-high 22 points and had eight assists in the Dallas Mavericks' 102-97 victory over the Cavaliers on Monday.

Ellis, who signed with the Mavs in the offseason, led six Dallas players in double figures.

Ellis missed two free throws with 3.4 seconds left with a chance to ice the game. Dallas was clinging to a three-point lead, 100-97, as the Cavs took the ball out of bounds with 2.8 seconds remaining.

Cavaliers guard Jarrett Jack could not get the ball inbounds and was called for a game-ending five-second violation.

Forward Dirk Nowitzki contributed 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Mavs (25-18). Dallas improved to 11-11 on the road this season. Forward Shawn Marion added 18 points on 7-of-8 attempts from the field.

Dallas held off a furious rally by the Cavs, who trailed by 24 points in the second quarter. The Cavs narrowed their deficit to two points, 91-89, after a 3-point goal by forward Luol Deng with 3:25 to play. But they were unable to get over the hump.

Guard Kyrie Irving had a game-high 26 points and nine assists for the Cavs (15-26). The Cavs had hoped to use this five-game homestand to get back in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Center Anderson Varejao ended with 18 points, a game-high 21 rebounds and four assists. Deng added 20 points, while forward Tristan Thompson had 19 points and 10 rebounds.

The Cavs attacked the boards in the second half. They outrebounded Dallas, 46-39.

The Mavs shot 45.8 percent from the field, while the Cavs shot 40.7 percent.

The Cavs missed six free throws in the fourth quarter. They ended 26 of 33 from the foul line.

The Cavs picked up their intensity in the third quarter as they outscored Mavs 29-20. Irving was scorching hot in the third with 16 points on six-of-nine shooting. They held Dallas to 38 percent shooting in the third. They narrowed their deficit but trailed 83-68 after three quarters.

The Mavs stormed to a 22-point lead at halftime, 59-37. They blistered the nets for 55 percent shooting in the first half, and outrebounded the Cavs 24-13.

Meanwhile, the Cavs shot just 34 percent from the field.

Marion scored 14 first-half points for Dallas, while backup center DeJuan Blair had 11 points in eight minutes. Nowitzki had nine points and seven rebounds.

Deng had 11 first-half points for the Cavs, their only player in double figures to that point. The Mavs outscored the Cavs in the second quarter, 29-14.

The Cavs' defense has regressed for the last month. It continued in the first quarter of Monday's game. The Mavs shot 54.5 percent en route to a 30-23 lead after the first quarter. Marion, not known for his outside shooting, drained two 3-pointers in the first quarter and had eight points and two rebounds.

NOTES: The Cavaliers finally have a player that possesses legitimate leadership skills in F Luol Deng. "It's nothing new to me," Deng said. "If I see something out there, I'll let the guys know." Cavs coach Mike Brown is thrilled to have a player who will speak up, especially one who is a two-time All-Star. "He's a true veteran who has been through the fires," Brown said. ... Dallas coach Rick Carlisle applauded the Deng trade. He said the Cavs are scoring nine more points a game since Deng came to the team. "That was a terrific move for them," he said. ... Carlisle raved about Cavs unofficial assistant coach Tim Grgurich, who is working with the team this year. "He's the godfather of modern player development," Carlisle said. "He fostered it and cultivated it in the league. To me, he's one of the giants in our game." Carlisle said Grgurich could earn a spot in the Hall of Fame someday. ... Despite being 35 years old, Mavericks F Dirk Nowitzki is still the focus of opposing teams' game plans. He is leading the team in scoring at 21.2 points per game. "He still scores now the same way he did 10 years ago," Brown said.
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