Mavs beat Bucks 106-93 without Nowitzki, Carlisle

Brandan Wright’s season debut just happened to come on a night

when Dirk Nowitzki was home sick.

The trade-off worked out just fine for Dallas.

Wright led the Mavericks with 19 points, Jose Calderon got the

offense going early and finished with 18, and Dallas shrugged off

the absence of Nowitzki and coach Rick Carlisle to beat the

Milwaukee Bucks 106-93 Saturday night.

Nowitzki and Carlisle missed the game with an undisclosed

illness. Carlisle has been fighting an upper respiratory problem

since before a four-game road trip that started last week.

Wright, who missed the first 23 games with a shoulder injury,

scored seven straight points in a 19-5 run that put Dallas in

control, 43-26, early in the second quarter.

”I’m going to be aggressive either way it goes,” said Wright,

who was 9 of 10 from the floor and added six rebounds in 19

minutes. ”If Dirk plays or Monta (Ellis) plays or none of those

guys play, I’ve got to play the same way. I’ve got to play

hard.”

John Henson had 18 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Bucks, who

fell behind by 34 late in the third quarter before rallying in the

fourth to make the final score respectable.

O.J. Mayo, who played despite the recent death of his

grandmother, had four points on 1-of-6 shooting in his first game

in Dallas against his former team since signing with the Bucks as a

free agent last summer.

”We came in here and laid an egg,” Milwaukee coach Larry Drew

said. ”We didn’t play well. We had very low energy, which was

disappointing.”

Nowitzki and Carlisle missed the shootaround earlier Saturday

and weren’t at American Airlines Center for the game. The Mavericks

don’t play again until Wednesday, so they should have plenty of

time to recover.

Even without their star and their coach, the Mavericks were

never in much trouble with assistant Monte Mathis in charge.

Dallas didn’t even need much from Ellis, the team’s leading

scorer. He had seven points and five assists and essentially

deferred to Calderon, who had 16 points at halftime on 4-of-6

shooting from 3-point range.

”Very important, especially with Monta kind of feeling things

out and not getting some of the opportunities that he typically

has, it’s good for another guy to step up and be aggressive,”

Mathis said.

The biggest decision for Mathis was whether to bring back any

other starters after the Bucks went on a 13-0 run in the fourth

quarter and eventually got within 13 in the final 2 minutes.

Mathis did reinsert DeJuan Blair after Wright had returned, and

the Mavericks kept the lead in double digits.

”One or two more baskets,” Mathis said of how tempting it was

to go with Ellis and Calderon again. ”We didn’t want to get them

in there. We wanted our other guys to finish it out.”

Shawn Marion had 13 points and 12 rebounds for the Mavericks.

Vince Carter had 15 points and a game-high nine assists.

Brandon Knight scored 16 for Milwaukee, but only four after the

first quarter.

”We came out flat,” Henson said of the Bucks, who lost by a

point to Chicago at home a night earlier and have played five sets

of back-to-back games in their last 10. ”The combination of these

games and the travel, I think we kind of hit that wall.”

Wright grabbed two quick rebounds after coming in midway through

the first quarter and finished the first half with 11 points and

five rebounds in 10 minutes.

The highlight for Wright was a putback dunk for a 79-51 lead in

the third. Just 3 minutes later, Blair gave the Mavericks their

biggest lead at 90-56 on a jumper. Blair had 11 points and nine

rebounds.

Samuel Dalembert, signed in the offseason to be the starting

center for the Mavericks, was the only Dallas player who didn’t get

off the bench.

For Dalembert, it was something of a replay of his one season

with Milwaukee, when he went through a long midseason stretch

without playing and got into just one of the last 11 games.

NOTES: Bucks G Carlos Delfino had surgery on his right foot

performed by Dr. Donato Villani in Argentina. There is no timetable

for the 31-year-old’s return. … Carlisle missed a game for the

first time since the franchise’s only championship season of

2010-11. He missed a Dec. 27 victory at Oklahoma City a day after

having arthroscopic knee surgery. Assistant Dwane Casey, now the

head coach in Toronto, filled in then. … Bucks G Gary Neal left

late in the second quarter with plantar fasciitis and didn’t

return.