How it happened: After O.J. Mayo got going early by scoring eight of his team’s first 11 points, the Mavs responded with a 10-0 run. The run was sparked by Jose Calderon’s hot shooting. The Bucks continued to go under on Dallas screens, and Calderon made them pay with three consecutive 3-point buckets. The hot streak spread through the rest of the Mavs, as they shot 13-of-22 from the field in the opening quarter.
As the Mavs continued to attack the basket and dish the ball out to the open man, the Bucks were constantly on their heels. Dallas made the game look easy in the first half, as they shot .500 percent from the field and held Milwaukee to .357 percent from the field.
The second half saw the hot shooting by the Mavs fade away. Dallas looked confused on offense, as they couldn’t establish any consistency on that end of the floor. Milwaukee capitalized with a 16-2 run during the third quarter to bring its deficit down from 19 to three.
Despite only shooting 5-of-22 from the field with five turnovers in the third quarter, Dallas took a four-point lead into the fourth quarter.
Early in the fourth quarter, timely steals by both Jae Crowder and DeJuan Blair led to easy buckets for the Mavs, which allowed them to extend their lead. With the game up for grabs for most of the fourth quarter, the Mavs were able to cling to their lead to secure a much-needed victory.
In a revenge game for Mayo and Monta Ellis, Mayo won the scoring battle with 28 points, but Ellis played the better all-around game. The Milwaukee crowd showed no love for their former shooting guard, but Ellis ultimately got the last laugh with the victory.
What it means: Dallas had to gut out a tough game on the final night of tough stretch early in their schedule. Late-game execution was a major issue for the Mavs of 2012-13. For one night in Milwaukee, the 2013-14 Mavs showed they could do enough in the clutch.
Play of the game: With the Bucks down only four points and two minutes to go, Mayo posted up Calderon and tried to capitalize on the mismatch. Mayo inadvertently turned the ball over and Dirk Nowitzki was able to make the Bucks pay with a timely jumper. Catastrophic turnovers killed Mayo last season. It might be a new year and a new team for Mayo, but the problem reared its ugly head once again.
Stat of the night: With a 15-point lead, Dallas scored 34 points in the opening quarter. Dallas came into the game 0-3 in games in which they were losing after the opening quarter. Dallas is now 4-0 in games in which they have taken a lead into the second quarter.