DALLAS -- A balanced effort led the Minnesota Timberwolves past the sliding Dallas Mavericks 90-82 Monday night at American Airlines Center.
Five Timberwolves scored in double figures, led by Nikola Pekovic, who finished with 20 despite leaving in the third quarter with a sprained ankle. Alexey Shved chipped in with a season-high 16 points off the bench, including a long 3-pointer in the fourth quarter that essentially put Dallas away.
It was a frustrating night for the Mavericks, punctuated by coach Rick Carlisle get tossed with five minutes left for protesting a foul call. Minnesota outrebounded Dallas 49-35 in a matchup that lacked several starters on both sides.
Minnesota (5-2) is off to its best seven-game start since 2001. The Wolves, who won for the fourth time in five games, also have three victories in their past four meetings against the Mavericks. Dallas (4-4) lost its third game in a row, and it dropped a home game for the first time this season.
Darren Collison topped the Mavs with 16 points, with O.J, Mayo netting 14.
Andrei Kirilenko had 15 points and 11 rebounds for Minnesota, which got 15 points from Luke Ridnour and 14 points and eight boards from Dante Cunningham off the bench.
The Timberwolves took it to Dallas throughout the second half, quickly doubling a six-point halftime edge and staying out in front from there. Cunningham made three jumpers in the third quarter as the visitors outscored the Mavericks 21-19.
Minnesota opened up as much as a 13-point lead before losing Pekovic. The Wolves were a plus-21 in scoring with the 26-year-old center on the floor.
Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle burned through timeouts in the first half. He took two in the first quarter, displaying his unhappiness with what he was seeing. The Timberwolves were a step quicker and more aggressive.
Carlisle seemed to light some fire under his team with another timeout after Minnesota went up 29-17 early in the second quarter. The Mavericks responded with a 9-2 spurt that prompted Wolves coach Rick Adelman to call for a break.
Minnesota pushed that lead back out to 11 points before another Dallas spurt. The Mavericks appeared to grab back some momentum, but Vince Carter foolishly fouled Ridnour at halfcourt with 0.2 seconds left before halftime.
Ridnour hit both free throws to give Minnesota a 45-39 lead at the break. Pekovic had 13 points and five rebounds at the half, with Kirilenko adding 12 points and Shved scoring eight.
Mayo had nine points for the Mavericks through two quarters. None of his teammates had more than five, as Dallas shot 34.9 percent.
The Timberwolves had control early, using their length and athleticism to get to the rim. Minnesota forced the Mavericks into a timeout after a reverse slam from Derrick Williams made it 16-11.
Carlisle stopped play again after Ridnour nailed a 3-pointer for a 23-13 Minnesota lead. Kirilenko had 10 of those Minnesota points, knocking down four of his first five shots.
The Mavericks cut into the double-digit deficit slightly to trail 25-17 after the first period. Dallas was held to 30 percent shooting during its lowest scoring quarter of the season.
NOTES: Minnesota was without guard Brandon Roy (knee), guard J.J. Barea (foot) and forward Chase Budinger (knee). Guard Malcolm Lee made his first career start in Roy's place. Adelman hopes to get Roy and Barea back Wednesday. Wolves forward Kevin Love (hand) and guard Ricky Rubio (knee) have been out all season. ... Dallas was without forward Shawn Marion (knee) and forward Dirk Nowitzki (knee). ... The Mavericks went into the game averaging 20 more points at home than on the road this season.