No Dirk Nowitzki, no problem so far for the Dallas Mavericks, who boast the second-best record in the Western Conference after a 109-104 win over the Toronto Raptors at home on Wednesday night.
Thanks to O.J. Mayo and Chris Kaman, the Mavericks jumped out to an early double-digit lead and weathered a sustained Toronto comeback. For Mayo, the 22-point effort broke a two-game string of 30-point-or-more performances. But coming off a season-best 32-point outing Monday against Portland, Mayo put in just enough to help Dallas to its fourth win.
Along with Mayo – who had five rebounds and six assists – Kaman also paced Dallas with 22 points of his own. Kaman added eight rebounds and three assists, showing no ill effects from the strained right calf that cost him the first two games of the season.
Vince Carter tossed in 17 points off the bench for Dallas, and Darren Collison added 15 points. The Mavericks shot 46 percent from the field and a solid 38 percent from behind the three-point line. For Toronto, 25 points from Andrea Bargnani and 24 points from DeMar DeRozan weren't enough to keep the Raptors from their fourth loss. A woeful performance from beyond the arc hurt Toronto badly, as the team finished 5-of-22 on three-pointers. Bargnani missed all five of his attempts.
With its three-game, season-opening homestand over, Dallas now heads to New York to face the surprisingly unbeaten Knicks. Tipoff will be Friday night at 7:30 p.m. at Madison Square Garden.