DALLAS — It’s been more than four years since O.J. Mayo has scored 30 points in back-to-back NBA games. But he’s now done it in two consecutive outings for his new Dallas Mavericks team, performances that allow the birthday boy in Monday’s 114-91 victory over the visiting Trailblazers to stake his claim as the franchise’s “Robin.’’
With 32 points on his 25th birthday, featuring 6-of-8 shooting from the arc, Mayo is doing his best to step up to serve as the star sidekick to pair with the injured Dirk Nowitzki. Every Batman needs a Robin. … and right now, Dallas doesn’t even have the Batman part available. But so far for the 3-1 Mavs, instead of struggling in Nowitzki’s absence, the Dallas offense has thrived behind Mayo’s second-straight 30-plus-points effort.
“You can’t get a loss on your birthday,” said O.J., who finished 12 of 18 from the floor. “It’ll kinda mess up the night.”
Mayo didn’t mess up. This marks the fourth time he’s posted back-to-back 30-point games in his career but the first time he’s done so since February 2009. He had exactly 30 in the Saturday win over Charlotte.
He was far from the only Maverick who shined in this one. New backcourt mate Darren Collison finished with a double-double, notching 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting and 13 assists. He seems more than capable of handling point-guard duties, seeing the court well on the break and only committing one turnover. Chris Kaman also added 16 points off the bench on 8-of-10 shooting and also grabbed six rebounds. A league-leader in field-goal percentage coming into the game, Brandan Wright started at center and added 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting and six rebounds.
Dallas’ depth was so on display that Mavs coach Rick Carlisle declared Dominique Jones end-of-bencher “the key guy in the game, especially in the second half. He gave us a real spark defensively.”
Meanwhile Portland, led by former Mavericks assistant coach Terry Stotts, was paced by 20 apiece from LaMarcus Aldridge and Wesley Matthews. Nicolas Batum tossed in 14 points and rookie sensation Damian Lillard — who had been off to an Oscar Robertson-like career start — added 13 points but hit only two of his 13 shots.
Not all was rosy for Dallas, however, as Portland hammered the Mavericks on the offensive glass, snagging 23 offensive boards to Dallas’ two. This led to a 23-2 edge in second-chance points for Portland. The Blazers edged Dallas overall on the glass, 48-37. An additional issue: forward Shawn Marion left Monday night’s game due to a left-knee strain.
Once again, Dallas covered up this deficiency on the boards with superb outside shooting, hitting 10 of 20 from the arc. Aside from Mayo’s six 3’s, Dallas enjoyed Vince Carter hitting 2 of 5 and rookie Jae Crowder splashing 2 of 3 from downtown.
Overall Dallas shot 61.5 percent from the field (after having shot 61.3 percent Saturday against Charlotte). The Dallas defense was mostly stout as well, limiting Portland to 36-of-93 shooting (39 percent). The Mavs also picked off 12 Portland passes while turning the ball over only nine times.
Carlisle spoke of his desire to develop a “team of go-to guys’’ in Dirk’s absence, and the Mavs’ contributors were many. But conventionally, there is a “go-to’’ pecking order. And so far, O.J. Mayo — an almost-star during his time in Memphis who joined Dallas this summer as a possible free-agent steal — is asserting himself.
“I’ve just been doing what I trust and trusting what I do,” said the birthday boy.