Clevelad, OH, United States (4E Sports) – Dallas made a key defensive stop in the last two seconds of the game as the Mavericks weathered a late comeback by the Cleveland Cavaliers en route to a 102-97 win Monday at Quicken Loans Arena.
Down by just three after trailing by 24 in the second period, the Cavaliers had a chance to tie the game but point guard Jarrett Jack committed a five-second inbounds violation, allowing the Mavericks to escape with the victory.
Monta Ellis scored 22 points and issued eight assists, Shawn Marion added 18 points for the Mavs (25-18), while power forward Dirk Nowitzki had 17 points and 10 rebounds as the Mavericks bounced back from an embarrassing 127-111 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers two days earlier.
“This was a big bounce-back win from an embarrassing loss the other day,” Ellis said. “We’ve just got to take it game by game and work hard every night. Good things will happen if we do.”
“It was a crucial turnover, but obviously we’ll learn from it,” said Cavaliers All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, who recorded game highs of 26 points and nine assists for Cleveland (15-26).
Anderson Varejao added 18 points and 21 rebounds, Tristan Thompson had 19 points and 10 boards while small forward Luol Deng scored 20 points in his first home game with Cleveland.
Mavericks power forward DeJuan Blair and Marion combined to make their first 11 shots and score 29 points over the first 2½ quarters.
Dallas took its largest lead at 59-35 on a 3-pointer by rookie point guard Shane Larkin with 51 seconds remaining in the first half.
The Mavericks were leading by 13 entering the fourth period but the Cavaliers cut the deficit to 91-89 after a triple by Deng with 3:25 left in the game.
The Cavaliers threatened anew at 98-95 but Jose Calderon sank two foul shots for a five-point cushion.
After a dunk by Varejao, Ellis had a chance to put the game away but he missed two foul shots, giving the Cavaliers another shot at tying the game.
However, Jack committed a five-second inbounds violation with two seconds left, dooming the Cavaliers’ chances.