DALLAS – The Human Exclamation Point is an honest man.
Yes, Brandan Wright gets a certain extra sense of satisfaction out of lighting up his former team. And he’s given Golden State a good idea of just what they let get away in the Mavs’ two wins over the Warriors this month, putting up a season-high 16 points in last week’s victory in Oakland and bettering that by a point in Friday’s home win.
“It’s one of those situations that you want to play well against your former team,” Wright said with a smile. “That’s all I can give you on that. You want to play well; you want to beat those guys. Since I got traded, I haven’t lost a game to them.”
That’s technically true. Wright was dealing with a concussion and didn’t make the road trip when the Mavs lost to the Warriors in March.
Wright had 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting and a season-high-tying nine rebounds when he finally got the chance to play the Warriors with the Mavericks. He had 17 and seven in only 17 minutes Friday night, when he made eight of nine shots from the floor.
The 24-year-old Wright has gone from a lottery pick that Golden State gave up on to a major bargain for the Mavs, who will pick up the team option to pay him the NBA minimum next season without thinking twice.
Wright won’t see the Warriors until next season, but he’ll have no problem finding motivational fodder. He’s preparing to play in the playoffs for the first time in his career.
A few more notes on Friday’s win:
1. Azubuike’s Dallas debut: It was a special night for Kelenna Azubuike, although the ex-Golden State swingman probably won’t frame the box score. He was 0-of-2 from the floor and committed two turnovers during six minutes in his NBA return after a two-plus-year layoff after a devastating knee injury.
“The knee feels great,” Azubuike said. “Now, the game will come.”
It was his first NBA appearance since for the 28-year-old Azubuike since tore his patella tendon on Nov. 14, 2009 and had post-surgery complications. The Mavs signed him in March to a one-year deal with a team option for next season with the hopes that he’d be regain his form from 2008-09, when he averaged 14.4 points and 5.0 rebounds, in time to be part of the Dallas rotation next season.
Any contributions from Azubuike this season will be considered a bonus.
"It's like (Corey) Brewer last year,” said coach Rick Carlisle, who noted that both of Azubuike’s 3-point attempts were in and out and praised his defense. “If he can help us somewhere along the line -- one play, or a few good minutes in a game at the right time, it's all worth it.”
"He's worked hard and I'm happy for him. He's had a two-year ordeal to get back."
2. Minutes managing: Delonte West was the only Maverick to play more than 30 minutes against Golden State. Not coincidentally, the 28-year-old West is by far the youngest player among the Mavs’ starters and top two reserves. “Compared to the rest of our team, he’s a youngster,” Carlisle said.
3. Terrible tie: Carlisle put the Mavs’ off night from 3-point range (3-of-19) in perspective by pointing out that their perimeter shooting was prettier than the orange tie that he wore during the game. Carlisle offered a simple excuse for having an off fashion night. His wife Donna didn’t pick out the tie, allowing Carlisle to be a victim of his own questionable taste.