'Where would Dallas be without Mayo?' We can do better than 'hypothetical' here. Allow us to perform…
First Impressions: Mavs 119, Kings 96
It was as automatic as ever.
The Dallas Mavericks entered Monday's visit from Sacto having won 16 straight home games against the Kings dating all the way back to 2003. As our colleague Coop noted coming in, Dallas has won those games by an average margin of 14.3 points.
Oh, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said all the right things in the pregame media session. Here's that, raw and uncut:
But the truth is, this margin was fatter than usual and noticeable from the start of what would be a 119-96 blowout win. The Mavs led by as many as 28 points in the first half, saw the 7-13 Kings cut into the lead in the third, but stepped on the gas from there, jumping back up 88-70 by the end of the third.
"We needed everybody,'' Carlisle said, and Dallas' accomplishment here (which includes a seventh home win in 10 tries, a third consecutive win and a vault to over .500 at 11-10) did include almost everybody. Dirk Nowitzki (knee) is still out, as is Shawn Marion (groin). They had their fun clowning their way through a portion of the telecast on Fox Sports Southwest. And indeed, Dallas used nine players for at least 19 minutes, with Derek Fisher, Darren Collisonm, Jae Crowder and defensive ace Dahntay Jones all scoring in double figures.
"We had a great time out there playing together as a unit,'' Jones said. "I think we're in a good place right now. We've made a lot of adjustments, we have some great leadership with Derek Fisher, great guys coming off the bench and we're doing a lot of positive things. Our confidence is at a high place right now."
Chris Kaman (playing on a bum ankle) scoring 18 points was pivotal. And more than anything, the story of the game was "same-old-same-old'' when it comes to Dallas through this first quarter of the season:
Mayo, playing at an All-Star-worthy level, led the Mavericks with 19 points. Dallas is now 10-4 when Mayo has at least 19 points.
O.J. came and got us off to a good start offensively,'' Carlisle said.
OJ is once again a leading candidate as you can vote for the Player of the Game -- the traditional honor of "The Dirkie'' -- here.
The Mavs' first-half domination included preventing the Kings from scoring in the second quarter until there was 6:10 remaining. Dallas' 65-43 halftime lead meant season-bests for points scored and points allowed in a first half.
When it comes to playing in Dallas, the Kings find creative ways to get crushed. On Monday, that fact was low-lighted by the work of potential standout DeMarcus Cousins, who totaled 25 points, six rebounds, one sideline argument with opposing coach Carlisle and one subtle and unprovoked punch to the crotch of Mayo.
"He has the opportunity to be the face of the franchise,'' Mayo said of Cousins, who he accused of having "mental issues'' and immaturity. "But I don't think he wants it."
When the Kings play the Mavs, for 17 straight times now, it doesn't matter if they want it. All that matters is, like Elmer Fudd and Ahab, they never get it.