3-pointer: Darren Collison takes charge

DALLAS -- What have the Mavericks found during their three-game winning streak?

“We found some toughness,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “We found some grit. We found Derek Fisher.”

Those characteristics might be rubbing off on the point guard that Fisher replaced in the Mavs’ starting lineup.

Darren Collison scored 15 points on 7-of-9 shooting in 30 minutes off the bench during Monday’s blowout win over the Kings. He had a sweet steal and breakaway dunk that made good fodder for the highlight shows.

But it was a play that Collison won’t get credit for in the box score that most pleased Carlisle. Collison ruined a Sacramento fastbreak by taking a charge from Marcus Thornton early in the fourth quarter.

Carlisle made his way to the paint to congratulate Collison with a high five during the ensuing timeout.

“Me being a little guy, I had the opportunity to step in there and get one,” said Collison, who was plus-22 in the game. “That felt good on my part. ... Carlisle’s always going to have our back, especially when we do things like that. If we do the dirty work, he’s always going to be excited.”

It proved that Collison got the message from the morning shootaround, when Carlisle stressed that the Mavs had only taken 13 charges in the first 20 games, far too few.

A few more notes from the Mavs’ third consecutive win:

1. Not just D for Dahntay: Dahntay Jones’ defensive prowess is the primary reason he’s been in the starting lineup the last few games. But Jones is offering a little offensive help, too, putting up season-high point totals in the last two games.

Jones followed up his eight-point performance in 21 minutes of Saturday night’s win over the Rockets by scoring 11 points on 3-of-6 shooting against the Kings.

“I’m trying to figure out how I can be effective and how I can help the team out,” said Jones, who also had a season-high four assists Monday night. “It’s getting better and better every game now that I’m getting consistent minutes and I don’t have to look over my shoulder. Things are coming together.”

Carlisle gave Jones a lot of credit for the Mavs’ spectacular defense in the second quarter, when the Kings had more turnovers (six) than field goals (four). Jones stuck to explosive Sacramento sixth man Thornton while the Mavs seized control of the game.

“Dahntay did a great job of not letting him see the ball or see the basket,” Carlisle said.

2. Crowder’s slump-buster: It’d been a while since rookie Jae Crowder had this kind of shooting night.

Crowder busted out of a funk -- 5-of-35 from the floor in the previous six games -- by scoring 11 points on 5-of-9 shooting. He also had four rebounds and four assists in 23 minutes, during which the Mavs outscored the Kings by 24 points.

“The great thing about Crowder is that he plays with confidence all of the time,” Carlisle said. “His approach never changes regardless of what’s going on with the scoreboard, shooting percentages, any of that kind of stuff. That’s one of the things you admire about him as a young player.”

3. Mayo manning boards: O.J. Mayo ranks seventh in the NBA in scoring, answering any questions about his ability to put the ball in the basket on a consistent basis. He’s still in the process of proving that he can do all the other things to be the all-around player he wants to be.

He’s been an especially effective rebounder recently. His season-best eight boards were a bit overshadowed by his career-best-matching 40 points in Saturday’s win in Houston. Mayo followed that up by grabbing seven rebounds against Sacramento.

“We’ve got to help our bigs out,” Mayo said.