Elton Brand's 20 Points off the Bench Fuel Dallas Mavericks to 3rd-Straight Win

Danny Webster@@DannyWebster21Analyst IIIJanuary 14, 2013

Elton Brand had his best game with the Mavs on Monday night.
Elton Brand had his best game with the Mavs on Monday night.Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

We've been waiting for a game like this from Elton Brand.

The timing couldn't have been any better.

Brand scored a season-high 20 points off the bench and Darren Collison and O.J. Mayo combined for 43 points as the Dallas Mavericks won their third-straight game with a 113-98 victory over a depleted Minnesota Timberwolves squad.

The Mavs won their second of this four-game homestand to bring their record to 16-23, while the Timberwolves, who were coming off a 106-88 loss to San Antonio on Sunday, dropped their fourth in a row without Kevin Love in the lineup.

Two games into this homestand, Dallas has been able to do what is expected: Beat the teams they're supposed to beat.

Dallas took care of the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday, who were coming off a back-to-back of their own, and now made quick work of Minnesota, leading by as many as 21.

Brand had by far his best game in a Mavs uniform, going 10-of-13 from the field in 30 minutes of play, and also had six rebounds.

The former No. 1 overall pick hasn't lived up to expectations so far this season, so for him to have this kind of a breakout performance playing alongside Dirk Nowitzki is a good sign for a struggling frontcourt that's looking for production.

It was also a good sign to see Collison and Mayo doing great things together in the backcourt; something that head coach Rick Carlisle has desperately wanted from his two young guards.

Mayo did an excellent job taking care of the ball with only one turnover, and had perhaps his best all-around game of the year with 20 points, nine assists and seven rebounds. 

Although Collison had three turnovers, he finished with a game-high 23 points to go along with nine assists, one shy of his third double-double of the year.

Chris Kaman, Nowitzki and Vince Carter also chipped in with 10 points each.

This also marked J.J. Barea's return to the American Airlines Center for the first time since being a part of the Dallas championship team two seasons ago. He finished with a team-high 21 points in 26 minutes off the bench for Minnesota.

Two games down, two more to go for this homestand, and it doesn't get any easier for Dallas. The Mavs welcome James Harden and the Houston Rockets on Wednesday, and then Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday.

At least they got the split. There's a start.