DALLAS — Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle was looking for any solution he could find to turn around his team’s sputtering offense.
Then seldom-used guard Rodrigue Beaubois gave Dallas the scoring punch it needed to turn away the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Beaubois scored 18 points off the bench and keyed a fourth-quarter run to lead the Mavericks past the Cavaliers, 96-86 on Friday night.
Beaubois scored nine points and added three assists in the fourth quarter. The French guard had played just 33 minutes since Feb. 22 and totaled nine points in the team’s previous five games.
“We have to make sure that everybody’s ready,” Beaubois said. “Even if you don’t play, the next game maybe you’re going to get in. So you have to be ready to contribute and to help the team win.”
Dallas had a sluggish start after losing 92-91 Thursday night in San Antonio. The Mavericks hit only 7 of 21 shots in the first quarter and trailed by 11 early in the second.
Carlisle then turned to Beaubois and his mates off the bench. The Mavericks reserves outscored their Cavaliers counterparts 60-19.
It was Beaubois, though, who provided most of the offensive output for the bench with his most productive game since scoring 19 against the Spurs on Jan. 25. He scored seven points in a 17-4 run that gave Dallas the lead for good in the fourth quarter.
“(Beaubois) had his best game of the year and it was certainly his most timely,” Carlisle said. “We knew we were going to have to go deep to be able to win.”
Cleveland’s Dion Waiters had 21 points and Shaun Livingston chipped in with 13. The Cavaliers, who were playing their second game without All-Star Kyrie Irving, were outscored 29-18 in the fourth quarter.
The Cavaliers went nearly five minutes without a field goal at one point in the fourth. They also turned the ball over six times in the final quarter.
“I thought we got a little upset at ourselves at the way we were defending,” Cleveland coach Byron Scott said. “We kind of let that affect us on the other end.”
Beaubois scored to put the Mavericks up 71-70 early in the fourth. He found Brandan Wright for a layup and then drained a 3-pointer to extend Dallas’ advantage to 80-72.
Darren Collison and Wright had baskets to finish off the 17-4 run, putting the Mavericks up 84-72 with 6:17 left.
The 6-foot-2 Beaubois punctuated his game later in the fourth with an emphatic dunk on a baseline drive.
Collison and Wright each scored 13 off the bench for the Mavericks, who are three games behind the Los Angeles Lakers for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Dallas opened a stretch where it plays eight of nine at home.
The Cavaliers dropped to 5-11 without Irving in the lineup. The reigning Rookie of the Year is expected to miss three to four weeks — and possibly the rest of the season — with a left shoulder strain.
Dallas guard Chris Wright, who is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and returned to basketball last July, came into the game with 41 seconds left and scored the Mavericks’ final basket. The Mavericks signed Wright to a 10-day contract on Wednesday.
“I just wanted to go in there and contribute something positive, Wright said. “That was pretty cool.”
The Mavericks didn’t lead until the third quarter.
O.J. Mayo found Collison for a layup and Jae Crowder connected on a 17-footer to finish off the surge and give Dallas a 57-54 lead with 5:06 left in the third.
Collison banked in a 20-footer with 1.3 seconds left in the third. Livingston caught a long pass and hit a turnaround jumper at the buzzer to give the Cavaliers a 68-67 lead.
Crowder had a season-high 14 rebounds and Dirk Nowitzki scored 13 points on 6-of-17 shooting for the Mavericks.
The Cavaliers jumped out to a 13-4 lead six minutes into the game. Dallas missed nine straight shots at one point as Cleveland built its early advantage.
After Cleveland stretched its lead to 11 early in the second quarter, Dallas went on a 16-6 run to get within a point. Beaubois scored six straight for the Mavericks, including a 3-pointer that trimmed the Cavaliers’ lead to 33-32.
NOTES: Dallas F Shawn Marion, who missed his fifth straight game Friday night, was diagnosed with a strained left calf after he had an MRI on Friday. Carlisle said the injury was improving, but he did not give a timetable for Marion’s return. . Cavaliers G Wayne Ellington didn’t play because of a sprained left ankle. ... Cleveland’s C.J. Miles is a Dallas native and attended Skyline High School, which is a few miles east of the American Airlines Center. The guard scored eight points and grabbed five rebounds.