Collison leads balanced Mavs over Wolves 113-98
DALLAS (AP) — Darren Collison now runs the floor where J.J. Barea was the spark that helped rally the Dallas Mavericks to their first championship two seasons ago.
Dallas' new point guard made sure one of his predecessors didn't finish off another comeback Monday night.
Collison led six players in double figures with 23 points and the Mavericks matched their season high with a third straight win, holding off a pair of Barea-engineered surges in a 113-98 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
"I felt like we were going to attack," said Collison, who also had nine assists and three steals.
That used to be Barea's job coming off the bench in Dallas, until he became a starter midway through the 2011 NBA finals on Dallas' home court and helped erase a 2-1 series deficit against Miami.
He was finally back on that floor after sitting out Minnesota's first two trips with injuries since signing as a free agent when Mavericks owner Mark Cuban decided not to bring back several key pieces of the title team.
The diminutive guard is a reserve again, and he had former teammate Dirk Nowitzki and others chasing him all over the court while running the pick-and-roll and scoring 11 second-quarter points. He led the Timberwolves with 21 and was on the floor for a second-half rally that cut a 23-point deficit to eight.
"I have a lot of good history here," said Barea, who made 4 of 7 from 3-point range and added five assists. "I hit a couple of shots early so I just kept being aggressive the whole game. I always try to bring a lot of energy off the bench and help my team as much as I can."
The Timberwolves, who finished a 0-4 road trip that coach Rick Adelman missed for personal reasons, got 20 points and a game-high 12 rebounds from Nikola Pekovic.
"It was a tough trip," Barea said. "I tell them to remember how this feels. We have to get better at home."
O.J. Mayo and Elton Brand had 20 points each for Dallas. It was a season high for Brand. Mayo matched Collison's nine assists, and the Maverick had a season-high 33 as a team. Nowitzki, Chris Kaman and Vince Carter had 10 points apiece.
Minnesota trailed by nine in the third quarter when Dallas guard Jae Crowder beat the shot clock with a 3-pointer moments before Ricky Rubio was called for a technical foul from the bench. Less than a minute later, Alexey Shved was called for kicking out his leg when he made a 3-pointer, negating the shot. Shawn Marion scored on other end, and Mayo followed with a 3-pointer to put the Mavericks ahead 83-67 late in the third quarter.
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