They also are doing the extra little things it takes to win.
On Sunday, with guard Monta Ellis surprising his coaches by playing
despite suffering a hamstring injury two nights earlier, the
Mavericks roared to their fifth straight win, a 102-91 decision over
the Boston Celtics.
"He's a warrior. We didn't expect (him to play)," Dallas forward
Dirk Nowitzki said after Ellis scored 11 points in 28 minutes as the
Mavs moved to 10 games over .500 since the 2010-11 season, when they
won the NBA title.
"When he was out there for shoot-around I was like, 'what?' joking
with the assistant coaches," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said.
"He's like Peter Parker, must have got bitten by that radioactive
spider that put a jolt into his body where he's healed. He's just a
Dallas (31-21) moved a half-game past the idle Golden State Warriors
into seventh place in the Western Conference, just percentage points
behind the sixth-place Phoenix Suns.
The Mavericks didn't make the playoffs last year.
"I (could) feel it from Day 1, that that year was out of the
memory," said guard Jose Calderon, who wasn't with the Mavericks
last season. "It's erased. Nobody's thinking about that.
"It's a playoff team. It's a playoff organization. We want to be
Nowitzki, the team's star who does a little bit of everything on the
floor, is on a tear the past seven games. he scored 20 points and
added five rebounds and four assists Sunday.
The Mavericks went on a 20-5 run bridging the halves to open their
three-game road trip with an easy win. Dallas led by as many as 24
points in the fourth quarter.
"It's been a nice little win streak here," Nowitzki said. "We
definitely needed it since Memphis has been playing really well
lately and is making a push. We're looking to move up. If you look
at seedings five through eight, it's only separated by a couple of
games, and we'd love to keep pushing."
The Celtics, whose 2-15 January was the worst month in franchise
history, didn't get hot until it was too late. They lost for the
first time in four February games.
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Boston (18-34) used a 13-2 run to get as close as nine points late
in the game.
Calderon had 18 points, five rebounds and five assists for Dallas.
Swingman Vince Carter came off the bench to score 14 points. Forward
Shawn Marion had 11 points and 10 rebounds, and center Samuel
Dalmbert grabbed 11 boards.
The Mavericks had six players score in double figures, and they hit
10 of their first 20 3-pointers. They finished 10-for-23 from long
Celtics forward Jared Sullinger shot just 4-for-13 from the floor
but recorded his fifth straight double-double with 11 points and 12
rebounds. Point guard Rajon Rondo had 15 points, 12 assists and
eight rebounds, and forward Jeff Green scored a team-high 18 points.
"We had great shots; they just weren't falling," said Sullinger, who
is averaging 21.2 points and 13.4 rebounds the past five games. "I
thought even my shots were great shots, but they just weren't
Forward Gerald Wallace seemed to disagree, saying, "We played the
better team tonight."
Boston guard Chris Johnson scored a career-high 14 points, all in
the final 9:02. Forward Kris Humphries came off the Boston bench to
contribute 10 points.
"The third quarter and the start of the fourth killed us and took us
out of the game," Celtics coach Brad Stevens said.
NOTES: Celtics F Jeff Green has scored a total of 35 points but has
shot just 12-for-35 from the floor the past two games. ... The New
York Daily News reported the Atlanta Hawks are aggressively trying
to acquire Green. ... ESPN Boston reported the contract G Chris
Johnson signed with the Celtics on Friday is actually for four
years, including this one — but the next three years aren't
guaranteed. ... G Rajon Rondo, who returned after missing a game
with general soreness, became the sixth Celtic to record 4,000
career assists. He will sit against the Bucks in Milwaukee on Monday
night, the second half of a back-to-back, as he continues his return
from knee surgery. ... The Mavericks play the Bobcats in Charlotte
on Tuesday. ... Most of the Celtics' front office personnel were at
Boston College on Saturday night to watch Duke freshman F Jabari
Parker. They were joined by dozens of other NBA scouts. ...
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was at Sunday night's game, sitting
behind his team's bench.
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