Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki celebrates making a three point shot against the Utah Jazz during the second half at the American Airlines Center.
Jerome Miron/Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
DALLAS (AP) – Dirk Nowitzki scored 21 points and the Dallas Mavericks celebrated the return of two key pieces from the franchise’s only championship team in a 120-102 victory over the Utah Jazz in their home opener Thursday night.
Tyson Chandler, the center and emotional leader when Dallas beat Miami for the title three years ago, had 13 points and six rebounds in his first home game since leaving in free agency not long after celebrating the crown.
J.J. Barea, the diminutive guard and 2011 NBA Finals spark who was re-acquired a day earlier, got a standing ovation when he came off the bench late in the first quarter. He had four points.
Derrick Favors had 17 points and 11 rebounds for the Jazz, who fell behind by 30 points in the first half of a tough back-to-back after an opening loss to Houston at home.
Mavericks newcomer Chandler Parsons matched Nowitzki with 21 points and had seven rebounds in his home debut after a rough start in a season-opening loss at San Antonio.
With a new cast of quick and athletic players moving the ball around him, Nowitzki had plenty of good looks with his one-legged fadeaway and went 9 of 13 from the field.
The Mavericks shot 55 percent, thanks to a fast start that included four alley-oop dunks in the first quarter. Chandler, who made all five of his shots, had the first three dunks.
Chandler and Barea both wanted to come back to Dallas after winning the title, but owner Mark Cuban didn’t offer them long-term contracts because he thought it would hurt the team’s salary cap flexibility under the new labor agreement.
The Mavericks brought back Chandler in an offseason trade with the New York Knicks, and Barea signed a veteran minimum deal Wednesday after reaching a buyout agreement with Minnesota. Both had signed four-year deals with their previous teams.
Gordon Hayward and Trey Burke scored 16 apiece for the Jazz. Burke had a game-high seven assists.