Rapid Reaction: Mavs 109, Raptors 104

How it happened: The Mavericks started hot again and never let the tired, talent-starved Raptors mount a serious threat.

The Mavs opened with a 30-plus-point first quarter for the third consecutive game, opening up a 36-24 lead. The Mavs, who had been historically hot, cooled off considerably but still cruised to a comfortable win.

The Mavs managed to get outstanding production from their frontcourt despite missing their three most accomplished forwards (Dirk Nowitzki, Shawn Marion and Elton Brand).

Big man Chris Kaman produced 22 points and eight rebounds in his first start with the Mavs. Brandan Wright, playing primarily power forward, added 12 points and seven rebounds. And rookie second-rounder Bernard James took advantage of an increased role to add six points and nine rebounds in 18 minutes off the bench.

Vince Carter, who played a lot of small forward with Marion out due to a sprained MCL in his left knee, scored 17 points.

O.J. Mayo wasn’t as ridiculously efficient as he was during his back-to-back 30-point performances, but he still matched Kaman with a team-high 22 points and dished out six assists, consistently making smart passes while being frequently double-teamed. Mayo was 8-of-17 from the floor after making 22 of 35 shots in the Mavs’ previous two blowout wins.

The performances of Andrea Bargnani (25 points) and DeMar DeRozan (24 points) allowed the Raptors to hang around without star point guard Kyle Lowry.

What it means: The 4-1 Mavs stack up another win despite a lengthy injury list, but it’s hard to make too much of a victory over a lottery team playing its fourth game in five nights and missing its best player. This is the Mavs’ best record through five games since 2007-08, when they were also 4-1.

Play of the game: The bucket didn’t count, but Carter still gave folks watching in Toronto a flashback to his early NBA years with a high-flying, two-handed finish on a fast-break lob from Darren Collison. Center Aaron Gray delivered a forearm shiver to Collison’s chest as the Mavs’ lightning quick point guard delivered the leaping lob pass. A flagrant-one foul was called on Gray, which is why the basket didn’t count.

Stat of the night: For a change, the Mavs dominated the glass. Dallas won the rebounding battle by a 47-38 deficit. The Mavs entered the game ranked third to last in NBA in rebounding differential (minus-8.3 per game).