CLEVELAND (AP) — This time, it should be a pleasant trip back to Dallas.
O.J. Mayo scored 19 points and the Mavericks used a pair of 9-0 runs in the fourth quarter to defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers 103-95 on Saturday night.
Chris Kaman scored 15 points while Vince Carter and Darren Collison added 14 apiece for Dallas, which won on the road for the second time in six games.
“We quit doing certifiably insane things with the basketball,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “Right now, we’re trying to figure out what kind of a team we are, and the guys got it done together.”
It was an altogether different atmosphere in the other locker room. The Cavaliers dropped their fifth consecutive game, and Kyrie Irving bruised his left index finger while scoring 26 points.
“It hurts a lot, but I’m going to get through it,” he said.
Irving was forced out with 6:54 remaining in the third quarter. He flexed his left hand several times and walked to the bench where he was examined by trainer Max Benton during a timeout. The two then walked to the locker room.
X-rays of Irving’s hand were negative, and he returned when the fourth quarter began. Irving said he took a swipe at the ball while Collison was dribbling and hit the guard’s foot. Although he played well after returning, Irving admitted the injury affected his play.
“I’m not feeling comfortable with my left hand and attacking the rim,” he said. “I had only one hand and I was trying to force shots over Chris Kaman. He did a good job coming over and trying to block my shot.”
Irving, who said he intends to play Sunday night against the 76ers, didn’t have an assist for the first time in his career. The reigning Rookie of the Year said it was the first time he didn’t have an assist at any level. Irving had one assist on two occasions last season.
Mayo hit a 3-pointer and a layup down the stretch to spark Dallas, which outscored the Cavaliers 28-22 in the final period. The Mavericks had six players score in double figures.
Dion Waiters and Daniel Gibson had 16 points apiece for Cleveland.
Dallas used its first 9-0 run in the fourth to build an 87-80 lead, but five straight points by Irving cut the lead to two. Irving’s basket off a steal tied it at 89 before the Mavericks scored the next nine points.
A basket by Kaman, a 3-pointer from the corner by Mayo, a lay-in by Collison and Shawn Marion’s jumper gave Dallas a 98-89 lead.
Dallas, which is playing without star forward Dirk Nowitzki, is back over .500 at 6-5.
“We’re going to start calling people out and challenging them,” Marion said. “If they buckle, they’ll buckle. But if they don’t buckle, you’ll see what happens.”
Marion, who scored 10 points, made his second straight start after sitting out five games with a sprained left medial collateral ligament. He had two points and seven rebounds in Dallas’ 103-83 loss at Indiana on Friday.
The Cavaliers dropped the last four and five of six on an 11-day road trip. Cleveland was coming off a 114-101 loss at Brooklyn on Tuesday night, a defensive effort that disappointed coach Byron Scott. Anderson Varejao (35) and Irving (34) both set a career high for points in that setback.
The Cavaliers were 29th in the NBA in points allowed (104.8) entering the game. Cleveland has two rookies and five second-year players on its roster, but Scott doesn’t want to hear any excuses.
“Young is a cop-out,” he said. “We’re still basketball players.”
Cavaliers rookie center Tyler Zeller returned after missing four games because of a fractured left orbital bone and a concussion. Wearing a mask to protect the broken bone, he had three points and two rebounds in 25 minutes.
NOTES: Mavericks starting F Elton Brand was scoreless in 11 minutes. He missed both shots from the field and had four rebounds. … Dallas opens a three-game homestand Monday against Golden State. … Cavaliers F Alonzo Gee missed a free throw in the first quarter after making his first 20 to start the season. … Cavaliers F C.J. Miles, the team’s top free-agent signing, didn’t play for the third straight game on a coach’s decision.
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