Mavericks cruise without Carlisle, Nowitzki

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

DALLAS -- Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle and forward Dirk Nowitzki were too ill to make it to American Airlines Center on Saturday night, but it hardly mattered against the hapless Milwaukee Bucks.
The Mavs scored 38 points in the first quarter and cruised to a 106-93 victory.
Dallas (14-10) needed a big win to rid itself of a sour taste from its 2-2 road trip. The Mavs ended it with a blowout loss at Sacramento and then lost on Steph Curry's buzzer beater at Golden State.
Those defeats lingered for two days while the Mavericks waited for struggling Milwaukee (5-19), which suffered its own gut-punch loss at home on Friday night to Chicago on a banked-in 3-pointer.
Without Nowitzki, Mavs point guard Jose Calderon picked up the slack and led the early scoring explosion with four 3-pointers in the first quarter. Calderon had 16 of his 18 points in the first half.
Reserve center Brandan Wright, who made his season debut after fracturing his shoulder during training camp, scored 11 of his game-high 19 points in the first half as Dallas stretched a 12-point first-quarter lead to a 59-41 advantage at halftime.
"It was great," Wright said. "The guys have been counting on me and really expecting me to come out here and help this team. I'm excited and ready to go."
Wright, who logged 19 minutes, was 9-for-10 from the floor and also had six rebounds. His return should help Dallas shore up a weakness on its frontline.
"It was great to see him out there," said Mavs assistant coach Monte Mathis, who filled in for Carlisle. His athleticism on defense, on offense, all of those in-between shots that we know he's really good at, he showed us that again. He did a great job with the game plan, the schemes on defense. He's just an experienced guy, so it's great to have him back."
The Mavs scored the first six points of the third quarter to quickly extinguish any hope that Milwaukee might have harbored for a comeback. Midway through the quarter, Dallas led 75-45. At the end of the third, the margin was 93-61.
"It was just a rough day for us," Bucks center John Henson said. "Calderon got them started by hitting those 3s. We have to regroup and get back to what we do well."
Dallas' season scoring leader, shooting guard Monta Ellis, was barely needed. He had just seven points on 3-for-7 shooting and played just 23 minutes. It was only his second game of the season scoring in single figures.
Mavs forward Shawn Marion contributed 13 points and 12 rebounds, center DeJuan Blair had 11 points and nine rebounds and guard Vince Carter added 13 points and nine assists.
The Bucks were led by Henson's 18 points and 13 rebounds. Guard Brandon Knight had 16 points and forward Khris Middleton finished with 10 points.
Guard O.J. Mayo had a nightmarish return to Dallas, where he played last season. He scored four points on 1-for-6 shooting.
Rookie forward Giannis Antetokounmpo had 13 points, nine rebounds and four assists.
Through three quarters, Milwaukee managed just five assists on 21 field goals while shooting 36.2 percent. The Bucks finished the game with one more turnover (16) than assists. Thanks to outscoring Dallas 32-13 in 12 minutes of garbage time, Milwaukee made the final score look a little less lopsided than the game really was.
"We have to keep developing as young players," Henson said. "Our young guys have to get more experience, and that includes me. It's a learning process, but unfortunately we are not winning right now. But I think it will be better for us down the road to learn from games like this."
Dallas has a chance to pile on a few wins with a light home schedule this week against sub-.500 teams in Memphis and Toronto. That sets up a more challenging three-game set at Phoenix, at Houston and back on Dec. 26 for their first of four meetings against Southwest Division rival San Antonio.
NOTES: Mavs C/F Brandan Wright made his season debut. Wright sustained a small, non-displaced fracture in his left shoulder during the second week of training camp. ... Mavs assistant coach Monte Mathis filled in for coach Rick Carlisle, who missed the game with an illness. The last time Carlisle missed a game was Dec. 27, 2010, when he didn't travel to Oklahoma City after having knee surgery. ... Mavs reserve F Jae Crowder made his second start of the season at small forward and Shawn Marion started at power forward as F Dirk Nowitzki also missed the game because of illness. ... The Bucks played without C Zaza Pachulia (foot) and F Caron Butler (knee). Bucks SG O.J. Mayo made his first return to Dallas since leaving the Mavs last summer as a free agent. Mayo was Dallas' second-leading scorer last season, but in his only season with the Mavs he was a member of a team that ended the franchise's streak of 12 consecutive playoff appearances.

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