How it happened: The Dallas Mavericks came out smoking in the second quarter and used their depth to cruise to a win over a tired Minnesota Timberwolves team playing the dreaded Daylight Savings back-to-back.
Dallas scored the first 14 points of the second quarter and led by double digits for the rest of the game.
The Mavs’ bench, the third-highest scoring reserve unit in the league this season, accounted for 58 points, 34 rebounds and 14 assists. All four reserves who played significant minutes made major contributions.
Sixth man Vince Carter lifted the Mavs after a sluggish start, scoring 15 of his 22 points in the first half. Carter, who also had nine rebounds, hit his first four shots from the floor and finished 8-of-15, including 4-of-5 from 3-point range.
Undersized big man Elton Brand put up his eighth double-double of the year, scoring 10 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.
Brandan Wright, the high-flying power forward/center whose role has increased recently, scored in double figures for the fourth consecutive game. He had 13 points on 6-of-7 shooting and grabbed seven rebounds.
Recently demoted point guard Darren Collison added nine points and eight assists.
Minnesota's 77 points matched a season low for a Mavs foe. The Timberwolves shot just 36.4 percent from the floor, including 2-of-18 from 3-point range.
What it means: The Mavs took care of business against bad teams on the first half of their four-game road trip, beating the Pistons and Timberwolves. The schedule gets significantly tougher the rest of the way. Beginning with Tuesday’s game in Milwaukee, 14 of the Mavs’ final 20 foes are currently in the playoff picture. The Mavs (29-33) are three games behind the Los Angeles Lakers, who moved into eighth place in the West with a win Sunday afternoon.
Play of the game: It had no impact on the outcome of the game, but Dirk Nowitzki’s head-scratching travel in the third quarter will surely be talked about by fun-poking teammates. Nowitzki was wide open when he caught the ball near the baseline, went up for a midrange jumper, saw Chris Kaman cutting to the basket and got caught in between thoughts. After landing with the ball in his hands, Nowitzki gave it a soccer-style header.
Stat of the night: The Mavs are 7-2 when Carter scores at least 20 points this season and 10-3 when he puts up 20-plus over the past two seasons.