Mavericks turn it on in second half, cruise past KingsFeb 11, 2009 - 5:31 AM DALLAS (Ticker) -- With Jason Terry out of commission for the foreseeable future, the Dallas Mavericks - already in a battle to even make the playoffs - have been robbed of one of their prime offensive weapons. Antoine Wright, however, has other ideas.
The fourth-year guard, acquired last season in the deal that brought Jason Kidd over from New Jersey, helped carry the load for the Mavericks on Tuesday night to lead them to a 118-100 rout over the Sacramento Kings.
While he has been a starter since early January, with Terry starring in the sixth-man role, Wright has merely been a role player this season, averaging 5.8 points and 19 1/2 minutes. But when Terry suffered a fractured finger on his left hand - an injury that may leave him sidelined for more than a month - Wright got a chance for a few more touches in what may amount to a prolonged audition.
"Jet (Terry) called me and sent me a text saying, 'We need you right now, you've got to play big.'" Wright said. "They changed some things for me, and we had a couple of days of practice to work on it and go over some of the offensive schemes we were going to use."
He certainly capitalized on his first opportunity. After the Mavericks allowed the lowly Kings to hang around for the first half of play Tuesday, Wright helped lead the charge after the break as Dallas ran away with it.
"The third quarter was a great quarter for us; everybody pitched in and helped defensively," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. "Offensively, I thought we did a lot of good things."
It was just a five-point game at halftime, but a 17-6 run by Dallas over the first seven minutes of the second half removed any doubt about the game's outcome. Wright provided a boost with six points during the spurt, opening things up with a pair of free throws before Dirk Nowitzki buried a pair of fadeaway jumpers.
"Coach said to get up off our butts and play like we want something," Howard said. "We've got a lot going here right now. I believe we just moved up to fifth in the standings and we're trying to make a statement before the All-Star break."
Wright's layup at the 6:52 mark pushed the Mavericks' lead into double digits for good and Josh Howard added a 3-pointer moments later, just for good measure. The Kings were essentially dead in the water from there on out as they suffered their fourth consecutive loss.
"Somehow or another, we have to figure out how to get 48 minutes of play," Sacramento interim coach Kenny Natt said. "We had a good first half. That first 24 minutes was really good. We played hard and we played well but we were unable to bring that energy into the third quarter."
But while Sacramento may have been effectively finished by the midway point of the third quarter, Wright was not. The 25-year-old Texas A&M product piled on with another pair of foul shots and a three-point play, then capped his big third-quarter effort with a 17-footer open up an 86-67 lead for Dallas.
"In the second half, I wanted to be aggressive and I got some shots to fall," Wright said. "The coaches are running a few more plays for me and they have confidence in me."
Wright led the way with 23 points, falling just one point shy of his career high, set November 25 in a victory over Indiana. Howard added 23 points of his own for Dallas, while Nowitzki added 21 and Jason Kidd collected 15 and 12 assists.
"I think everybody responded well," Howard said. "We knew we were going to need a complete team effort to fill the void left by Jason. Antoine really came in and responded well just like everyone else."
The Kings started out hot with a big first quarter, but it didn't take long for the league's worst team to cool off. Even star shooting guard Kevin Martin couldn't provide a lift, going just 4-of-15 from the field for 18 points.
"In the second half, they started making shots and we only hit, like four in the third quarter," Martin said. "So, if you're not making stops and you're missing shots, it's a recipe for disaster. It's not frustrating just for me but for the whole team."
DALLAS 118 FINAL
Feb 10 10:50 PM
DALLAS 88 END, 3RD QTR
Feb 10 10:19 PM
DALLAS 62 HALFTIME
Feb 10 9:36 PM
DALLAS 38 END, 1ST QTR
Feb 10 9:07 PM
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