How it happened: The Mavericks showed enough poise when it mattered most. Sure, it was against the 2-7 Cavaliers, but this was progress for a team that has had problems closing.
After Cleveland tied it up with a little more than five minutes remaining, the Mavs responded with a 9-0 run. That spurt, which featured a bucket and two assists by point guard Darren Collison (14 points, eight assists), proved to be the difference in the game.
Not that this win was a thing of beauty by any stretch of the imagination. The Mavs committed 22 turnovers and didn’t put the Cavs, who were led by Kyrie Irving's 26 points, away until the final minute.
Of course, the Mavs aren’t exactly in a position to be giving style points to wins these days. They had lost four of five games before this victory.
O.J. Mayo led the Mavs in scoring with another efficient shooting performance. He finished with 19 points on 5-of-9 shooting, including 3-of-5 from 3-point range.
The Mavs got big boosts by a couple of bench players. Little-used Dominique Jones, who got the backup point guard minutes instead of Rodrigue Beaubois, answered the bell with 10 points and five assists in 18 minutes. Power forward Troy Murphy hit three 3s in the second half.
What it means: The Mavs snapped a four-game road losing streak. They have a 6-5 record as they return to Dallas for a three-game homestand.
Play of the game: Credit Mavs coach Rick Carlisle for a well-designed play at the critical point of the game. The Mavs had a couple of mental meltdowns -- a blown boxout and sloppy turnover -- that allowed two quick Cavaliers buckets to tie the score with 5:08 remaining, prompting Carlisle to call a timeout. He called a play that resulted in Collison driving the lane and kicking to Kaman for a wide-open baseline jumper that gave the Mavs the lead for good.
Stat of the night: Murphy made three 3-pointers in the second half, matching his total in his first eight games with the Mavericks. Murphy was 3-of-6 from 3-point range Saturday night after coming into the game with a 3-of-16 clip this season. Each of his 3s against the Cavaliers gave the Mavs the lead.