DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) — There was plenty to celebrate following the Mavericks’ 103-81 dismantling of the last place Utah Jazz on Friday night at the American Airlines Center.
But despite matching the team’s season long four-game winning streak, the tone was anything but joyous in the locker room following the game.
“I’m not happy about anything,” said head coach Rick Carlisle. “At this point, we’re shoring it up, we’re doing better with it, but we can’t start feeling too good.”
The Mavs (30-21) outrebounded the Jazz 48-37, turned the ball over just 9 times, and led by as many as 24 before sending veteran star Dirk Nowitzki to the bench early in the fourth quarter.
Nowitzki accounted for 20 points on just 9 shots in 26 1/2 minutes, guiding the Mavs to 9 games over .500 for the first time since 2012.
Monta Ellis scored a game-high 22 while adding four assists, but left the game in the fourth quarter after suffering a right hamstring injury, according to the team.
Though Ellis said he wasn’t worried about his hamstring, he will undergo an MRI on Saturday morning to determine the severity of the injury.
“I’ve got screws in place in my ankle,” said Ellis, who limped through the Mavs locker room. “This thing, it’s nothing — [it’s] minor.”
Dallas kicks off a three-game road trip at Boston on Sunday leading up to the All Star break. Ellis’ availability on the road trip is in question.
Guard Devin Harris, who added seven points in his 10th game back from injury, says the team will have to adjust if Ellis is unable to play.
“It just leaves opportunity for other people,” said Harris. “Obviously, you can’t replace what he does. We have to do it by committee.”
Veteran forward Shawn Marion chipped in just six points, but spearheaded an aggressive Dallas defense which collected 10 steals and limited leading scorer Gordon Heyward to just eight points on seven shots.
Vince Carter added nine off the bench for Dallas, who is now just a half-game back of Golden State for sixth place in the Western Conference.
But Carter emphasized the need for the team to take each game one at a time heading into the break — and that starts in Boston.
“This is where teams lose focus and drop in playoff spots,” said Carter. “Hopefully we can catch some teams doing that, but we can’t be that type of team.”
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