Mavericks too much for struggling Kings
The Dallas Mavericks finally won a game without Lamar Odom, who is no longer an option for them.
Rodrigue Beaubouis, Jason Terry and the rest of the guys still coming off the bench for the defending NBA champions did just fine in a much-needed victory before going on the road, 110-100 over the struggling Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night.
Yi Jainlian, a 7-foot forward from China, added eight points with four long jumpers in a five-minute span of the second quarter when the Mavericks went ahead to stay.
''We needed it. (The backups) had good energy put the ball in the basket,'' coach Rick Carlisle said. ''I thought Yi's minutes were vital. ... It energized us, kept us going.''
Dirk Nowitzki and Beaubois each had 15 points to lead six players in double figures for the Mavs, who lost three of their previous four games. They are seventh in the Western Conference standings, a half-game behind sixth-place Houston and only a half-game ahead of Denver.
Dallas (32-26) plays six of its last eight games on the road, with a four-game trip in five days starting Thursday at Golden State. They play at home again next Wednesday against the Rockets.
''We've got a lot of veterans in here and we've been through worse than that,'' Terry said when asked about Odom's departure. ''We wish him the best in his future endeavors, but that's now all in the past and we are focused on the job at hand, and that's making the playoffs.''
In a strange twist, Dallas was 0-7 in games Odom missed before Tuesday, a day after the team said they had parted ways with the NBA's reigning Sixth Man of the Year. His averages of 6.6 points, 4.2 rebounds and 20.5 minutes in his underwhelming 50-game stint were career lows.
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said the end came after a heated halftime exchange with Odom after the forward's uninspired four minutes at Memphis on Saturday night.
''I just asked him, does he want to go for it or not. Is he in or is he out? I think he thought we were playing poker. I just didn't get a commitment. And that was the end,'' Cuban said before the game in his first public comments about Odom's departure.
When asked if that was the first time he noticed Odom having such a demeanor, Cuban responded, ''No, but the first 17 times, I decided to try to help him and turn it into a positive.''
Odom is still on the roster, but Dallas said he would be listed as inactive for the rest of its games and is no longer with the team.
Carlisle said the Mavericks are only focused on what they have to do moving forward.
Delonte West and Jason Terry each had 13 points, and Brendan Haywood 11 for Dallas. Shawn Marion had 10 points and 14 rebounds.
Dallas never trailed again after a 12-3 run over a 2 1/2-minute span early in the second quarter with none of its starters on the floor. Beaubois started it with a three-point play and Vince Carter had a 3-pointer for a 31-29 lead.
Marcus Thornton made a 3-pointer for the Kings before Yi had back-to-back jumpers that sandwiched a blocked shot by Carter before one of the highlight play of the night.
Carter had a steal and pushed the ball ahead to Terry, who threw the ball up in the air over his shoulder to a flying Brandan Wright for a powerful dunk.
After Sacramento tied the game for the last time, Beaubois had two free throws and Yi had two more long jumpers.
DeMarcus Cousins had 25 points and 18 rebounds for the Kings (19-39), who have lost five in a row and 10 of 12.
Thornton, Isaiah Thomas and Tyreke Evans each had 16 points for the Kings. Jimmer Fredette had 13.
Sacramento had an 8-0 run to get within 92-87 in the fourth quarter before Delonte West stole the ball from Cousins and got fouled. West hit both free throws to start a game-clinching 12-4 run.
''I thought the tone was set for us to play, we had to make sure we kept this game under control,'' Kings coach Keith Smart said. '' We had a few little details of turning the ball over or maybe some quick shots, but that's what you get with a team that's trying to learn how to win and close out quarters.''
NOTES: Jason Kidd returned for Dallas after missing four games with a strained right groin. The 39-year-old guard had seven points on 2-of-5 shooting with two air balls in his 1,310th career game, most among active players and 10th on the all-time list. ... Carter had a powerful one-handed slam over the 7-foot Hassan Whiteside in the third quarter, soon after missing a layup and being called for traveling trying to shoot again. .. .Dallas had won 10 consecutive regular-season games in the series before Sacramento's 110-97 win at home last month.