Nets top Mavs to finish trip on winning note
DALLAS — Brooklyn coach Kenny Atkinson spoke about the importance of finishing with a winning road trip heading into the Nets’ Wednesday night clash with the Dallas Mavericks.
The team listened.
“Coach talked to the veteran guys before the game and told us he needed us and that we needed to lead this team if we wanted to win,” Nets forward Trevor Booker said. “That was exactly what we went out there and did.”
DeMarre Carroll scored 22 points, Booker tallied a double-double, and the Nets went 2-1 on their Western Conference trip by slipping past the Mavericks 109-104 at American Airlines Center.
“You hate to say there are big games in an NBA season because it is so long, but that is what we talked about, getting two wins on this trip,” Atkinson said. “We knew it was going to be a tough trip. The fact that we got two wins and had a good fight in Houston is really positive for us going forward. Going into two games in Atlanta, and then we have the Mexico City trip, so I am really happy for the guys.”
The Nets (8-13) return to Brooklyn to start a home-and-home Saturday with the Hawks before heading to Mexico City for games against the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Miami Heat.
Carroll, back in the lineup after missing one game with an upper-respiratory infection, knocked down 7 of 14 shots in only his second 20-point game this season. He scored 15 in the third quarter and finished with seven rebounds.
The injury-ravaged Nets also received 19 points and six assists from Spencer Dinwiddie. Booker was a load inside with 16 points and 10 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season. Caris LeVert scored 13 off the bench.
Brooklyn, down 10 points early, led for the majority of the second half but could never pull away in a nip-and-tuck affair.
Going to the line with Brooklyn holding a two-point lead with 10.5 seconds left, the Nets’ Joe Harris (11 points) made the first free throw and missed the second.
Carroll helped keep the ball alive, and the Nets got the ball back. Dinwiddie was fouled and missed both foul shots, but Booker tipped out the second miss to Dinwiddie, who was fouled again. This time he made both free throws and iced the win.
Mavs coach Rick Carlisle took the blame for the late-game rebounding woes.
“It’s a lack of execution,” he said. “It’s on me. I had the wrong guys in the game. I’ve got to get guys in there that can go get the ball.
“The second half, they beat us to multiple loose balls. You’ve just got to look at Brooklyn and say, you know what, those guys played a hell of a game. They wanted it more, and they took the game. The last three quarters were really (a butt)-kicking. Give them credit. We didn’t show up the way we needed to those last three quarters.”
Brooklyn shot 46.7 percent and outrebounded the Mavericks 52-44, including 14-7 on the offensive end. The Nets did miss 11 of 25 free throws. Dallas shot 46.4 percent from the field.
Brooklyn also snapped a four-game losing streak against the Mavs, who fell to 5-17 after their second loss in a row.
Harrison Barnes led Dallas with 17 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Dirk Nowitzki had 10 points and seven boards. Dwight Powell had a season-high 14 points, Devin Harris scored 11, and rookie Dennis Smith Jr. scored 10.
Mavs rookie Maxi Kleber came out firing and hit his season high before the first quarter was done with 12 points. The power forward from the same German hometown as Nowitzki (Wurzburg) finished with 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting, including 2-of-4 from beyond the arc, to better his previous scoring high of 11. He also grabbed a season-best seven rebounds in 23 minutes during his seventh start.
“He played well, especially in the first half,” Carlisle said. “He’s got a lot of points. ... The (five) fouls derailed him a little bit. But at the end of the night, he’s a minus on the scoresheet. Minuses get you beat.”
Dallas continues its three-game homestand with a Saturday visit by the Los Angeles Clippers.
NOTES: Nets G Allen Crabbe (sore lower back) and F Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (sprained right ankle) were out. ... Mavs C Salah Mejri left the game after banging his left knee in the first period. He returned in the second half. ... Dallas dropped to 3-10 at home. ... The third quarter saw six ties and four lead changes.