DALLAS — Shawn Marion has no desire to be shipped away from Dallas. But as the NBA trade deadline approaches, the veteran with the Swiss Army Knife skillset is doing all the things that might cause him to be coveted – and also doing all the things that have made him arguably the Mavs’ best overall player this year.
Marion scored 26 points and collected 11 rebounds to lead the Dallas Mavericks to a 116-91 blowout over the visiting Warriors on Saturday night at the AAC. The 26 points marks his second highest output as a Mav on a night when he shot 11-of-16, keyed Dallas’ defense with two steals and a block, and as is befitting of his unorthodox game, banked in a corner 3-pointer.
“I’m just playing ball,” Marion said. “When (trade) situations arise, I’m going to let it take care of itself. But right now, I’m a Dallas Maverick and that’s what it’s about.”
The Mavs, now 22-28 with a 2-0 record on this five-game homestand, are growing facial hair as a symbol of team unity as they attempt to climb to .500. The players are also trying to perform well enough to avoid a change of employers – the sort of thing that can happen to a seeming non-contender like Dallas with a roster member like a seeming over-the-top player like Marion.
“He has been playing great all year, so it isn’t really anything new,” coach Rick Carlisle said of Marion, who in the last five games is averaging 18 points and 10 rebounds per. “He hasn’t had the huge stats all year but he has given us big games in timely situations and so it was one of those. But we need all of these guys.”
And here, “all these guys” contributed. This game was among the Mavs’ sharpest of the year as they took it to a Warriors team playing its 10th game in 16 days. Dallas mounted a 17-2 run in the first half to establish domination of the visitors. By halftime, the Mavs led 17-0 in fastbreak points, 15-2 in second-chance points, had held Golden State to 29-percent shooting in the second quarter, had committed just two turnovers for the half and had allowed 36 first-half points, a season low.
Dirk Nowitzki had some early struggles with his shot but finished with 15 points. The Mavs also benefitted from 19 points and nine assists from O.J. Mayo, 18 points and eight assists from Darren Collison and Elton Brand’s 11 points/11 rebounds.
“Anything to help the team,” said Brand of both his role and his willingness to grow his facial hair despite the protests of his wife. “I’ll put fire ants in my pants if it’ll help.”
That won’t be necessary. And hey, if they keep this up, maybe the beards won’t be required for long.
And if the Mavs achieve their goal, the idea of trading Marion might not be in play, either.
Because Dallas will surely need him if it is serious about a late-season run at the playoffs.