The NBA: The Mavericks’ Mayo

The Dallas Mavericks aren’t exactly on top of the NBA world right now, but things could be a lot worse if not for the inspired play of former Memphis Grizzly OJ Mayo.

With chief gunner Dirk Nowitzki still languishing in sickbay, the Mavs have had to turn to old (literally) reliables Vince Carter and Shawn Marion for production, which has been sporadic at best. In their stead, offseason acquisitions Chris Kaman, Elton Brand, Darren Collison and Mayo have had to carry a big chunk of the load on both ends of the floor.

Of all those guys, Mayo, who was casted out of the Memphis system after struggling mightily with decreased playing time, has been the biggest revelation. The former USC Trojan is enjoying his best season so far. The increase in minutes (+9 from last season) has seen more than a proportional increase in his production. Compared to last year, Mayo is norming more rebounds, assists, and, most importantly, more points. His scoring right now is almost +9 compared to last year, mainly because of his vastly improved accuracy from the floor.

OJ Mayo seems to have found a home in Dallas.
(image by Bob Levey/AP)

Before he came to the NBA, Mayo was billed as a pure scorer who could punish the opposing team from any spot on the hardwood. With the talent surrounding him in Memphis the past few seasons, he has had limited chances to show his offensive prowess, but the void left by Dirk in Texas has given Mayo more than enough room to shine. The 6’4” guard is putting up career-best shooting numbers from everywhere – 48.4% from the field, 84.6% from the line, and, best of all, 52.3% from beyond the arc. The guy is second overall in average threes made (2.9 per game – right behind Ryan Anderson’s 3.4) and three-point accuracy (behind Gerald Henderson’s 63.6%)!

At .500, the Mavs are right smack in the middle of the pack, which is a great thing, again considering Nowitzki’s absence. If Mayo can continue leading the charge in keeping Dallas afloat, they should have a strong chance at a nice playoff run by the time the dunking Deutschman returns.

Game Recaps (courtesy of the Sports Network):
LA Clippers 117, Phoenix 99
Jamal Crawford scored 13 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter to help lift the Los Angeles Clippers to a 117-99 decision over the Phoenix Suns on Saturday at Staples Center. Crawford went 5-for-8 in the final period, while Blake Griffin totaled 24 points, eight rebounds and a career-best four steals in the Clippers' fifth straight win. Chris Paul put forth a double-double, tallying 16 points and 11 assists in the victory. Michael Beasley scored a team-high 21 points off the bench for the Suns, who dropped their sixth straight game and fifth in a row on the road. Shannon Brown scored 19 and Luis Scola followed with 18 points and 10 boards. Goran Dragic, who entered the game leading the Suns in scoring, didn't make his first field goal until late in the fourth quarter. He finished with eight points and five assists for the game.

San Antonio 132, Charlotte 102
Danny Green hit a career-high seven 3- pointers as part of a 23-point night and San Antonio put on a clinic from long range in a 132-102 rout of Charlotte. San Antonio set a new franchise record as the team made 19 3-pointers in the game, getting 3-balls from eight different players in the win. Tony Parker scored 22 points with nine assists, while Manu Ginobili made three triples in an 11-point night for the Spurs, who have won four straight and nine of their last 10 games. Kemba Walker posted 23 points, while Gerald Henderson added 13 points for the Bobcats, who have lost their past seven games.

Golden State 101, Washington 97
David Lee recorded a double-double with 24 points and 17 rebounds, as the Golden State Warriors held off the Washington Wizards, 101-97. Klay Thompson made five 3-pointers en route to 23 points for the Warriors, who have won the first three games of a seven-game road trip. Golden State has won the first three games of a road trip for the first time since 2003. Stephen Curry added 22 points and five assists. He left the game briefly in the fourth quarter with a left knee injury. Jordan Crawford ended with 22 points, eight assists and seven boards for the Wizards, who fell to 2-15 on the season. Bradley Beal donated 17 points, six rebounds and six assists.

Boston 92, Philadelphia 79
Kevin Garnett scored a team-high 19 points on 9- of-11 shooting and the Boston Celtics knocked off the Philadelphia 76ers, 92-79, in the back end of a home-and-home series on Saturday at TD Garden. One night after posting a triple-double in an overtime loss at Philadelphia, Rajon Rondo came up three points and a rebound short of another one as he put up seven points, nine rebounds and 11 assists for the Celtics, who have won two of their last three games. Jeff Green hit 7-of-12 from the floor en route to 16 points, while Paul Pierce and Brandon Bass contributed 13 and 10 points, respectively, in the triumph. Thaddeus Young scored a game-high 22 points and Evan Turner added 13 points for Philadelphia, which has dropped three of its last four. Jrue Holiday finished with 11 points and eight assists in the setback.

Detroit 104, Cleveland 97
Brandon Knight scored 23 of his career-high 30 points in the second half to lead the Detroit Pistons to a 104-97 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday. Tayshaun Prince had 14 points and Rodney Stuckey and Jason Maxiell added 10 points apiece for the Pistons, who snapped a two-game skid. Jeremy Pargo dropped in 24 points and Anderson Varejao added 16 points and 13 boards for the Cavaliers, who have dropped five straight and nine of their last 10 overall.

Miami 106, New Orleans 90
Dwyane Wade had 26 points on 9-of-12 shooting, LeBron James scored 24 and the Miami Heat got back on track with a 106-90 victory over the New Orleans Hornets. James added seven assists and five rebounds for Miami, which snapped a two-game losing streak. Chris Bosh finished with 13 points, six boards and three blocks, while Ray Allen and Shane Battier supplied 11 points apiece for the Heat. Ryan Anderson scored 24 points to pace the Western Conference-worst Hornets, who have lost three straight. Robin Lopez contributed 20 points and eight rebounds in defeat.

Chicago 93, New York 85
Luol Deng and Marco Belinelli each had 22 points to lift the Chicago Bulls over the New York Knicks, 93-85, on Saturday. Bulls guard Nate Robinson added 14 points, eight assists and six rebounds against his former team. Carlos Boozer donated 12 points and 10 boards, and Joakim Noah finished with 10 and 11 for Chicago, which has won three in a row. Raymond Felton ended with 27 points on 9-of-30 shooting for the Knicks, who had a five-game winning streak snapped. Tyson Chandler had 14 points and 18 rebounds. New York shot a season-worst 32.1 percent from the floor just two days after making 18 3-pointers in a 112-92 victory over the Miami Heat. They went 8-of-23 from beyond the arc on Saturday. The Knicks were without Carmelo Anthony for a second straight game due to a lacerated middle finger on his left hand.

Dallas 116, Houston 109
O.J. Mayo netted 16 of his game-high 40 points in the fourth quarter as the Dallas Mavericks rallied for a 116-109 win over the Houston Rockets on Saturday at Toyota Center. Mayo buried six 3-pointers and pulled down eight rebounds, while Chris Kaman added 20 points and seven boards for the Mavericks, who have won eight straight against their intrastate rivals. Darren Collison and Vince Carter donated 12 points apiece in the victory. Rockets head coach Kevin McHale returned to the sideline for the first time since taking a leave of absence on Nov. 10. It was later revealed that his 23-year-old daughter Alexandra, who had battled Lupus, unexpectedly passed away on Nov. 24. The home side played inspired basketball for McHale as James Harden netted a team-high 39 points and Chandler Parsons added 18 points and 10 rebounds, but it all unraveled in the final quarter for Houston, which has lost three of its last five.

Brandan Wright slams one home as the Mavs handed
the Rockets their third loss in five games.
(image by Bob Levey/AP)

Atlanta 93, Memphis 83
Lou Williams scored 13 of his 21 points in the decisive third quarter to lead the Atlanta Hawks past the Memphis Grizzlies, 93-83, at FedExForum. Josh Smith paced Atlanta with 24 points, while Al Horford added 19 points and a game-high 14 rebounds for the Hawks, who won their third straight game and nine of their last 10 overall. Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol led the way for Memphis with 18 points apiece, with Randolph adding 13 rebounds. Rudy Gay contributed 17 points and nine boards, and Mike Conley finished with 12 points as the Grizzlies had their 13-game win streak against the Eastern Conference snapped.

Sacramento 99, Portland 80
John Salmons and DeMarcus Cousins each recorded a double-double as the Sacramento Kings used a dominant second half to down the Portland Trail Blazers, 99-80, at the Rose Garden. Salmons and Cousins scored 19 points apiece, while Salmons added 11 assists and Cousins pulled down 12 rebounds for the Kings, who earned their first road win of the season. Aaron Brooks netted 14 points, Jason Thompson and Francisco Garcia each poured in 12 and Travis Outlaw contributed 11 in Sacramento's third straight win overall. LaMarcus Aldridge finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds, and J.J. Hickson had 14 points and 15 boards for Portland, which dropped its second straight.

Top 10 Plays of the Night:

Game Highlights:

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