With 32 points on his 25th birthday, featuring 6-of-8 shooting from the arc, O.J. Mayo has staked his claim to being the star sidekick to pair with the injured Dirk Nowitzki for the Dallas Mavericks. Every Batman needs a Robin. But so far for the 3-1 Mavs, instead of struggling in Nowitzki’s absence, the Dallas offense has thrived behind Mayo’s second-straight 30-plus-points effort.
"You can't get a loss on your birthday,'' said OJ, who finished 12-of-18 from the floor. "It'll kinda mess up the night."
Mayo didn't mess up. This marks the fourth time he’s posted back-to-back 30-point games in his career but the first time he’s done so since February 2009. He had exactly 30 in the Saturday win over Charlotte.
He was far from the only Maverick who shined in this one. New backcourt mate Darren Collison finished with a double-double, notching 14 points on five of eight shooting and 13 assists. He seems more than capable of handling the PG duties, seeing the court well on the break and only committing one turnover. Chris Kaman also added 16 points off the bench on 8-of-10 shooting and also grabbed six rebounds. A league-leader in field-goal percentage coming into the game, Brandan Wright started at center and added 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting and six rebounds.
Dallas' depth was so on display that Mavs coach Rick Carlisle declared Dominique Jones "the key guy in the game, especially in the second half. He gave us a real spark defensively."
Meanwhile, led by former Mavericks assistant coach Terry Stotts, Portland was paced by 20 a piece from LaMarcus Aldridge and Wesley Matthews. Nicholas Batum tossed in 14 points and rookie sensation Damian Lillard -- who had been off to an Oscar Robertson-like career starter -- added 13 points but hit only two of his 13 shots.
Not all was rosy for Dallas however as Portland hammered the Mavericks on the offensive glass, snagging 23 offensive boards to Dallas’ 2. This led to a 23-2 edge in second-chance points for Portland. The Blazers edged Dallas overall on the glass, 48-37. An additional issue: forward Shawn Marion left Monday night's game due to a left knee strain.
Once again, Dallas covered up this deficiency on the boards with superb outside shooting, hitting 10-20 from the arc. Aside from Mayo’s six threes, Dallas enjoyed Vince Carter hitting two of five and rookie Jae Crowder splashing two of three from downtown.
Overall Dallas shot 61.5 percent from the field (after having shot 61.3 percent Saturday against Charlotte). The Dallas defense was mostly stout as well, limiting Portland to 36-of-93 shooting (39 percent). The Mavs also picked off 12 Portland passes while turning the ball over only nine times.
The Mavericks now have prep time before facing the Toronto Raptors at home on Wednesday night.
MAVSELLANEOUS: Home cookin'? Soft schedule? Call it what you will, but Dallas has registered blowouts in both of their home games. The Mavs beat the Bobcats by 27 and beat the Blazers by 23. ... Despite scoring only 10 points, Brandan Wright led the Mavs with a game-high +23 due to his strong play at both ends of the floor. His growth is a boon to a depleted Mavericks front line. He recorded his career-high fourth consecutive double-figure game on top of registering his 1000th career point ... Chris Kaman should be expected to earn a starting spot soon … Troy Murphy struggled from the field but snagged five rebounds. ... Mayo with the final word: "I've just been doing what I trust and trusting what I do."