DALLAS -- Raise your hand if you thought Elton Brand was done.
You were wrong.
Brand admittedly had a tough transition to being a bench player after arriving in Dallas via amnesty waivers and getting off to a slow start as a starter, but he’s settled into his role recently, redefining it along the way to suit his ability and the Mavericks’ needs.
The 6-foot-9, 255-pound Brand knows he earns his minutes because he’s a banger and smart, physical defender. But he firmly believes he can still be an efficient scorer, a point he’s proving.
Brand’s season-high 20-point performance in Monday’s win over the Timberwolves was his fourth double-digit scoring effort in the last six games. By comparison, he had five double-digit nights in his first two months and change in a Mavs uniform.
“I had to change the role a little bit,” Brand said. “I looked at it as, OK, come in, play some good defense on their big, be a presence in the post against their defenders and don’t worry about the shooting as much. It worked out early on, but then we were losing. So it’s, OK, I need to find a way to be a threat, help out this team, get buckets and do what you need to do.”
Brand is averaging 10.8 points over the last six games, which isn’t exactly eye-popping for a man with a career average of 17.9 points. But he’s done it on 66.7 percent shooting, hitting 30 of 45 shots from the floor.
“I know where my looks are coming from,” Brand said. “They know where I like my looks. We kind of worked it from there. It’s tough when you’re getting two or three shots a game, four shots a game, and you’re expected to shoot at a high clip. I forget what I said (in November) -- I’m not a firecracker or something like that -- but now I’m getting a lot of touches and sharing the ball.”
A few more notes from the Mavs’ third consecutive win:
1. Hangin’ with Collison: Darren Collison capped a 23-point, nine-assist performance with a pretty, two-handed dunk on a fast break. The 6-footer was whistled for a technical foul for hanging on the rim after the dagger dunk in the final minute.
“I think that’s the first tech of my career,” the mild-mannered Collison said. “I can’t remember getting one at all.”
If you’ve got to get T’d up, that’s a pretty good way to get one.
2. Barea’s big return: Former Maverick J.J. Barea tried his best to keep the Timberwolves in the game during his first action as a visitor at the American Airlines Center.
Barea, who got a nice applause from the crowd when he checked in for the first time, led Minnesota with 21 points and dished out five assists. The Timberwolves were plus-3 in his 26 minutes.
“I have a lot of good history here,” Barea said. “This is where it all started and where it all happened, so I’m always going to love coming back to Dallas.”
3. 20/20/20 vision: The Mavs, who never trailed in the game, had three players score at least 20 points for the first time all season. Collison scored 23, and O.J. Mayo and Brand added 20 each.
It’s the first time since Jan. 30, 2012, that three Mavs not named Dirk Nowitzki scored at least 20 points in a game. Shawn Marion, Vince Carter and Delonte West each had 20-plus points in a win over the Phoenix Suns that night.