A win for Mavericks, finally

Barnes stars as Dallas win their first game of the NBA season



The Dallas Mavericks, who dropped their first five games of the NBA season to get off to the worst start in franchise history, finally put up a "W" yesterday morning (Singapore time).

The Mavs' skid prompted billionaire owner Mark Cuban to say it was "driving me nuts".

With a first win in the books the Mavs can now, perhaps, begin fulfilling the Cuban's aim of building momentum, even with long-time star Dirk Nowitzki still sidelined by injury.

"It's definitely good to get that monkey off our backs," said forward Harrison Barnes, who scored a career-high 34 points in the 86-75 overtime triumph over the Milwaukee Bucks in Dallas.

JJ Barea added 21 points, including five in overtime, as the Mavs overcame the absence of German veteran Nowitzki, who is still nursing a sore right Achilles tendon, and Deron Williams, who has a left calf strain.

"It was a total team effort," said Barnes, who made 13 of his 26 shots and pulled down eight rebounds in 48 minutes on the floor.

Barea had six rebounds and five assists in 46 minutes.

"We stuck together today," Barea said. "We had a great defensive game. Barnes carried us throughout the game, and we had other players, too."

Australian big man Andrew Bogut returned from a one-game absence and grabbed 16 rebounds. Rookie forward Dorian Finney-Smith, getting his first significant minutes of the season, scored five points with three rebounds and three steals.

"He just plays hungry," Barnes said of Finney-Smith.

"He went out there and got us big stops and extra possessions with offensive boards."

The Bucks had a three-game winning streak snapped.

"We just really played bad," said Jabari Parker, who led Milwaukee with 16 points. "Even in overtime, we only scored one point. We can't let that happen. We had to get them out of their groove and close it out to seal the deal."

Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo was in early foul trouble and managed only 11 points with seven rebounds.

The Bucks led 68-62 going into the final six minutes, but they eventually paid the price for 27 turnovers, including five in the extra period.

"This was just a case of outlasting an opponent," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. "On defence, we were great. You look at the whole game and we had a plan - we got down early, but we stuck with it.

"We made these guys beat us in half-court game and these games can be ugly. But in our situation right now, it's what we have to do to win games."

The win was a big boost for Dallas before they embark on a four-game road trip that includes playing the Lakers in Los Angeles tomorrow morning (Singapore time), followed by games with Golden State, the New York Knicks and Boston Celtics. - AFP.

This was just a case of outlasting an opponent. On defence, we were great. You look at the whole game and we had a plan — we got down early, but we stuck with it.

— Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle


Utah 114 
NY Knicks 109

Portland 100 Memphis 94

Sacramento 96 Toronto 91

Denver 123 Boston 107

LA Lakers 119 Phoenix 108