Ellis, Mavs edge Cavs
Cleveland, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - Monta Ellis deposited 22 points with eight assists and the Dallas Mavericks edged the Cleveland Cavaliers 102-97 on Monday.
Shawn Marion scored 18 points and Dirk Nowitzki added a 17-point, 10-rebound double-double to help the Mavericks beat the Cavaliers for the sixth time in the last seven meetings. DeJuan Blair and Brandan Wright added 13 and 10 points, respectively, off the bench in the win.
Kyrie Irving contributed 26 points and nine assists in the losing effort, while Anderson Varejao scored 18 points and ripped down 21 rebounds. Luol Deng finished with 20 points in his first game as a Cav in Cleveland and Tristan Thompson added 19 points and 10 boards.
Irving scored 16 points in the third quarter on 6-of-9 shooting to help the Cavs trim their 22-point halftime deficit to 10, 75-65, but Wright made two dunks around a Varejao free throw to stake the Mavs to a 13-point advantage after three.
Cleveland scored 11 straight points early in the fourth to cut the deficit to 85-79 with 7:11 remaining. Ellis quickly countered at the other end with a mid-range jumper to push the lead back to eight, but Thompson and Irving made back-to-back shots minutes later and the Cavs trailed 87-84 with 4:41 to play.
The two teams traded baskets over the next couple of possessions with Deng hitting a 3 to make it a two-point game. Ellis answered the call once again with a driving layup and a pair of free throws around a Deng free throw to keep Dallas in front 95-90 with 2:22 left.
Ellis followed with a steal from Deng and threw it up to Marion, who finished with a layup to increase the cushion.
With a three-point lead, Dallas was sent to the line to secure the win when Ellis, who is shooting 80 percent from the stripe this season, missed both attempts to keep the door open for Cleveland with 2.8 seconds left.
The Cavs, though, committed a five-second inbound turnover as Jarrett Jack couldn't find anyone on the ensuing possession and Ellis made amends by knocking down two free throws to help the Mavs withstand Cleveland's furious comeback effort.
"It's the NBA. It's supposed to get hairy," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle admitted. "I'd love us to hit every shot and get every stop but when you're on the road, teams battle back if they get behind."
Earlier, Deng hit a pair of free throws to tie the game at 21-21 with 2 1/2 minutes left in the first and the Mavs outscored the Cavs 9-2 in the final minutes to take a 30-23 lead into the second quarter.
Blair scored five points during the sequence, including a reverse layup, then made a free throw to complete the three-point play.
The Mavs opened up the second frame on an 8-0 run to add to their cushion as Blair scored the final six points to help Dallas to a 38-23 lead just 3:17 into the quarter.
Dallas' lead swelled to as many as 24 in the second as it ended the final 2:43 of the quarter on a 12-4 run to lead 59-37 at the break.
"Tale of two halves," said Thompson. "You can never win the game in the first half, but you can definitely put yourself in a hole and it can cost you the game."
Jose Calderon scored 11 points with six assists in the win ... The Dallas bench outscored Cleveland's reserves 33-8 ... Cleveland outrebounded Dallas 46-39 ... The Mavs were 4-for-20 (20 percent) from beyond the arc, while Cleveland went 5-of-23 (21.7 percent).
01/20 17:39:29 ET