CLEVELAND (AP) – Dallas coach Rick Carlisle knew his short-handed team needed a boost to break its three-game losing streak.
Leading scorer Dirk Nowitzki was on the bench in street clothes for the fourth straight game because of a sprained knee. Caron Butler, the Mavericks’ third-leading scorer, was flying back to Dallas with a knee injury he suffered Saturday night in Milwaukee that could possibly keep him out for an extended period of time.
Carlisle ended up with plenty of volunteers to pick up the slack in Sunday night’s 104-95 win over Cleveland.
Shawn Marion scored 22 points and DeShawn Stevenson added 21 as both players hit their season-highs to pace the balanced attack. Jason Terry, starting for only the sixth time this season, scored 18 points, Tyson Chandler added 14 points and 14 rebounds, and Jason Kidd had 10 points and eight assists.
“This was a much needed win for us with what happened with Caron,” Carlisle said. “It has been a tough 24 hours, but the guys came together and really battled hard. They made runs at us, but we had answers.”
The Cavaliers, who were equally short-handed, have lost seven straight and 17 of 18. Point guard Mo Williams returned after missing two games because of a strained hip, but scored five points, making 2 off 11 from the field. Cleveland played without two starters, center Anderson Varejao (broken cheekbone) and guard Daniel Gibson (bruised thigh).
Antawn Jamison led Cleveland with a season-high 35 points, and Ramon Sessions added 19.
Marion, who didn’t play against the Bucks because of a thigh injury, made 11 of 16 from the field while Stevenson hit five 3-pointers. Chandler made all six of his field goal attempts while Terry was 8 of 14 from the field.
“We are beat up right now,” Marion said. “We needed this game. We had a tough night in Milwaukee.”
Nowitzki leads the Mavericks in scoring at 24.1 points per game, while Butler is third at 15.0. Butler is scheduled to have an MRI, which may be performed Monday.
“We needed this one desperately,” Chandler said. “To lose Caron, we were lucky we gained Shawn back. That really helped us out.”
No Cleveland player reached double figures other than Jamison and Sessions.
“We didn’t have enough guys play well,” Cleveland coach Byron Scott said. “That’s pretty much the bottom line. When you’re playing against a good team like Dallas, it can’t be just two guys. You have to have four or five guys play well.”
Thanks to the injuries, Scott was forced to give inexperienced players Manny Harris, Alonzo Gee and Christian Eyenega significant minutes.
“It’s always tough,” Scott said. “The whole situation we’re right now is tough.”
Jamison, one of Cleveland’s few veterans who is healthy, was 14 of 22 from the field and had 10 rebounds.
“It’s very difficult, especially with the type of streak we are going through,” he said.
The Mavericks, who improved to 12-2 on the road, scored the first eight points and led 21-7 in the first quarter. The Cavaliers led briefly early in the second period, but Dallas regained control. The Mavericks’ biggest lead of the half was 49-34 late in the second quarter.
Dallas built a 17-point lead in the second half and wasn’t seriously threatened in the final two quarters.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)