Dallas Mavericks: Rapid Reaction

Rapid Reaction: Spurs 119, Mavs 96

May, 4, 2014
May 4

SAN ANTONIO -- An unexpectedly entertaining series ended with the San Antonio Spurs roaring to a 119-96 rout of the Dallas Mavericks in Sunday’s Game 7.

How it happened: Game 7 played out pretty much how most figured this series would go all along.

The top-seeded Spurs, who had dominated Dallas during a nine-game winning streak over their Interstate 35 rival, finally looked like the clearly superior team.

San Antonio’s Big Three -- the lone players still on the Spurs' roster who lost a home Game 7 to Dirk Nowitzki's Mavs in 2006 -- outscored Dallas by themselves in the first half. The Spurs shot 68.4 percent in the half, building a lead that ballooned to as large as 29 points.

The Mavs, starting the second half with a small-ball lineup with Nowitzki at center and Vince Carter at power forward, along with three guards, sliced the lead to 14. That was as close as this game got to being competitive.

Tony Parker finished with a game-high 32 points in 34 minutes, going 11-of-19 from the floor and doing the majority of his damage on driving layups. Manu Ginobili added 20 points, 5 assists and 6 steals. Tim Duncan scored 15 points on 7-of-8 shooting before resting all but 37 seconds of the fourth quarter.

Nowitzki, who fell to 4-1 in Game 7s during his career, led the Mavs with 22 points and nine rebounds.

What it means: The Spurs advance to play the Portland Trail Blazers in a second-round series that starts Tuesday night in San Antonio. The Mavs’ season is over, as they failed to make it out of the first round for the third straight year since winning the championship in 2011.

Play of the game: Nobody picked up Parker in transition as he dribbled up the left side of the floor, allowing him to get all the way to the bucket for a layup with five minutes remaining in the third quarter. That pushed the Spurs’ lead back to 19 points after the Mavs came out strong to start the second half.

Stat of the night: No. 1 seeds are 57-5 in the first round after the Spurs and Indiana Pacers survived Game 7s.

Rapid Reaction: Spurs 109, Mavericks 103

April, 30, 2014
Apr 30

SAN ANTONIO -- The San Antonio Spurs are one win away from advancing to the second round after withstanding another comeback bid by the Dallas Mavericks, holding on for a 109-103 win in Game 5.

How it happened: Dirk Nowitzki’s first dominant stretch of the series wasn’t enough for the Mavs to make a comeback.

Not with Tiago Splitter and the Spurs lighting it up on the other end.

Nowitzki had by far his best performance of the series, finishing with 26 points and 15 rebounds. He had 14 points in the fourth quarter, in which he was 7-of-10 from the floor.

After a 3-pointer by Vince Carter cut the deficit to four points, Nowitzki had a wide-open, midrange jumper after getting Splitter to bite on a pump fake the next possession. A score would have cut the Spurs’ lead to two, but Nowitzki missed off the front iron.

Tony Parker, who led San Antonio with 23 points, hit a contested 3 on the ensuing possession to give the Spurs some breathing room.

Splitter, the Spurs’ defensive-minded center, slashed to the basket for layups a few times in the fourth quarter, when he scored nine of his 17 points. The Spurs had 30 points in the quarter, fighting off the Mavs’ furious comeback attempt.

Carter’s spectacular shooting kept the Mavs within striking distance most of the night. He finished with a game-high 28 points on 10-of-16 shooting, including 7-of-9 from 3-point range. Monta Ellis added 21 points, but only three Mavs finished in double figures.

The Spurs had five players with at least 15 points.

What it means: The eighth-seeded Mavs are on the verge of elimination as they return to Dallas for Game 6. The Spurs, who had the league’s best regular-season record, have seized the series lead by winning two straight games after Carter’s buzzer-beater in Game 3.

Play of the game: Parker’s 3-pointer with 1:52 remaining halted the Mavs’ momentum. Seconds after the Mavs had a shot to cut the deficit to two points, Parker pushed the Spurs’ lead to seven, making it a three-possession game.

Stat of the night: Carter’s previous playoff high as a Maverick was 13 points, which he matched midway through the second quarter. The last time Carter scored at least 28 in a playoff game was in the 2007 with the New Jersey Nets.

Rapid Reaction: Spurs 93, Mavericks 89

April, 28, 2014
Apr 28

DALLAS -- The Dallas Mavericks fell just short of pulling off the biggest comeback in franchise playoff history, but the San Antonio Spurs evened the series with a 93-89 win.

How it happened: The Mavs made a miraculous comeback but couldn’t complete the job.

Dallas had a chance to tie the score with 3.9 seconds remaining, but guard Monta Ellis’ layup rolled in and out. San Antonio’s Manu Ginobili, who scored a game-high 23 points off the bench, iced the win by making a pair of free throws.

The Spurs’ lead swelled to 20 less than three minutes into the third quarter after San Antonio stormed out of halftime with an 8-2 run. The Mavs immediately responded by busting out of a prolonged offensive funk with a 14-2 run and eventually pulled even with 6:23 remaining in the game.

Dallas third-string center DeJuan Blair, who fell out of San Antonio’s rotation last season, provided a massive spark during the Mavs’ comeback. The 6-foot-7, 270-pound banger had 12 points and 11 rebounds in 15 minutes despite a scoreless, one-rebound first half.

However, Blair was ejected with 3:08 remaining when referees ruled after review that his kick to Spurs’ center Tiago Splitter’s head was a hostile act. Blair kicked Splitter when both were on their backs after a Blair foul.

After Ginobili hit the technical free throw to tie it up, Splitter gave the Spurs the lead by sinking both of his shots from the line.

That set up a wild final few minutes for the second consecutive game in the series.

Ellis (20 points) drove to the basket after getting a handoff from Dirk Nowitzki for an and-1 layup with 52 seconds remaining, tying the score with the free throw. However, the Spurs regained the lead for good on the next possession with a 3-pointer by Boris Diaw, who had 17 points off the bench.

What it means: The top-seeded Spurs survived a scare to regain home-court advantage, evening the series at 2-2. The Mavs narrowly missed pulling off the biggest comeback in the franchise's playoff history, which remains a rally from 19 points down to win Game 5 of the 2003 Western Conference finals in San Antonio.

Play of the game: The Spurs’ French Connection hooked up for the go-ahead bucket with 32.9 seconds remaining. Running a pick-and-pop, point guard Tony Parker dished to reserve forward Diaw for a tiebreaking 3-pointer over Nowitzki.

Stat of the night: The Spurs are 53-1 in games they led going into the fourth quarter this season, including 25-0 on the road. The lone loss was by one point to the Portland Trail Blazers on Jan. 17.

Rapid Reaction: Mavs 109, Spurs 108

April, 26, 2014
Apr 26

DALLAS -- The scrappy, eighth-seeded Dallas Mavericks pulled out a high-drama, 109-108 win to take a 2-1 series lead over the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs on Saturday.

How it happened: A phenomenal game came down the final few seconds. The difference was Dallas got the ball last.

Mavs sixth man Vince Carter hit a fadeaway 3-pointer from the corner at the buzzer to give the Mavs the win. That came 1.7 seconds after Spurs sixth man Manu Ginobili hit a high-degree-of-difficulty, go-ahead lefty runner.

This was a beautiful basketball game during which two of the league’s best offensive teams traded buckets and runs for 48 fascinating minutes.

Dallas guard Monta Ellis was sensational, especially down the stretch. He scored a game-high 29 points and twice made driving buckets to tie the game in the final few minutes. He was one of six Mavs to score in double figures.

Mavs star Dirk Nowitzki scored 18 points on 7-of-13 shooting.

And a couple of key Dallas role players delivered by far their best performances of this postseason. Point guard Jose Calderon had 16 points and nine assists. Center Samuel Dalembert had 13 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks while battling Tim Duncan, who led the Spurs for 22 points.

There were 18 ties and 18 lead changes in a wild West shootout reminiscent of the classic 2006 West semifinals between these two teams. It came down to Carter’s last shot in the corner.

What it means: The miracle Mavs have a 2-1 lead against a San Antonio team that entered the series with a nine-game winning streak in the Interstate 35 rivalry. The Spurs, who were eliminated by the eighth-seeded Memphis Grizzlies in the 2011 playoffs, are in jeopardy of becoming the first franchise to twice lose in the first round as a No. 1 seed. Game 4 is Monday night in Dallas.

Play of the game: Carter caught the ball with 1.7 seconds remaining, pump-faked to get Ginobili to leave his feet and drilled a corner 3 at the buzzer. Ballgame.

Stat of the day: Nowitzki was held to fewer than 20 points in three straight playoff games for the first time since the first three games of the 2001 West semifinals against the Spurs.

Rapid Reaction: Mavericks 113, Spurs 92

April, 23, 2014
Apr 23

SAN ANTONIO -- The Dallas Mavericks stunned the San Antonio Spurs and evened the first-round series with a 113-92 win in Game 2.

How it happened: Believe it or not, Dallas won with suffocating defense.

That's certainly a surprise, considering the Mavs struggled defensively all season and the top-seeded Spurs rank among the NBA's most efficient offensive teams. But it's true, as the Mavs forced an astounding 24 turnovers.

The Spurs did shoot 50 percent from the field, led by sixth man Manu Ginobili scoring 27 points on 9-of-12 shooting, but that wasn't nearly enough to overcome San Antonio's uncharacteristic sloppiness with the ball.

Dallas' offense was fueled by its defense, converting all of those San Antonio turnovers into 33 points. Six Mavs scored in double figures, led by 21 points from Monta Ellis and 20 from defensive stopper Shawn Marion.

The Mavs routed the Spurs despite the second straight off-game by superstar forward Dirk Nowitzki. He missed his first six shots and finished with 16 points on 7-of-19 shooting.

The Spurs closed the first half with a 10-0 run featuring eight points by Ginobili, cutting the deficit to five despite committing 15 turnovers before halftime. However, the Mavs took that punch and came out swinging in the third quarter, building their lead back up to 16.

After a scoreless first half, Mavs point guard Jose Calderon took over in the third quarter. He had 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting and dished out four assists in the frame, drilling jumpers on three straight possessions at one point, the final one despite a foul.

San Antonio, which rallied from a 10-point deficit in the final seven-plus minutes to win Game 1, never made a run in the fourth quarter.

What it means: This might actually be an entertaining series. The teams head to Dallas tied 1-1 after the Mavs snapped a 10-game overall losing streak to the Spurs with their first playoff victory since clinching the 2011 championship. Teams that split the first two games on the road in best-of-seven series are 93-105 in NBA history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. It would have pretty much just been a matter of when the Mavs' offseason fishing trip would start if they didn't get this win. Teams that lose the first two games on the road in best-of-seven series are 13-207, a puny winning percentage of .059.

Play of the game: DeJuan Blair stripped Ginobili and took off on a one-man, relatively fast break, spinning in the lane and finishing with a layup. That bucket by the 6-foot-7, 270-pound former Spur stretched the Mavs' lead to 16 with 1:03 left in the third quarter.

Stat of the night: The Spurs, who averaged 14.4 turnovers in the regular season, had 15 in the first half. According to data from ESPN Stats & Information, that's the most turnovers the Spurs committed in the first half of a game in the past five seasons, including playoffs.

Rapid Reaction: Mavs 101, Suns 98

April, 12, 2014
Apr 12

DALLAS -- The Dallas Mavericks punched their playoff ticket with a 101-98 win over the Phoenix Suns.

How it happened: After big nights by Monta Ellis and Dirk Nowitzki, the Mavs held on in the final seconds to pull out the wild win.

That duo combined for 44 points after the break to allow the Mavs to erase an 11-point halftime deficit, leaving the Suns and Memphis Grizzlies battling for the West’s last playoff spot.

Nowitzki recovered from a horrendous first half (two points on 1-of-5 shooting) to finished with 23 points and eight rebounds. He was 7-of-10 from the floor in the second half, including a 3-pointer from the left wing with 4:34 remaining that gave the Mavs the lead for good.

Ellis was simply sensational all night. He tied his season high with 37 points on 15-of-23 shooting.

The Mavs led by eight with less than three minutes remaining, but the Suns responded with a 9-2 run to pull within one point. Guard Eric Bledsoe, who had 29 points and six assists, fueled that spurt with five points but missed what would have been a tying free throw with 52 seconds remaining.

The Mavs got a major scare early in that run when Nowitzki appeared to twist his left ankle and limped off the court. He returned to the game after missing only 18 seconds.

Phoenix’s Gerald Green had a chance to give the Suns the lead with 26 seconds remaining, but he missed a short baseline jumper in transition.

After a wild pass that was almost stolen by Bledsoe, Ellis went to the line, splitting a pair of free throws to push the Mavs’ lead back to three with 19 seconds remaining.

Bledsoe drove to the basket on the ensuing possession, but Brandan Wright (12 points, 11 rebounds) came up with the biggest blocked shot of his career.

Ellis couldn’t seal the door at the line, splitting another pair of free throws with 9.4 seconds remaining and leaving the door cracked for the Suns to force overtime.

Markieff Morris' 3-pointer on the final possession -- with Wright's hand in his face -- was way off.

What it means: The Mavs (49-32) clinched a playoff spot for the 13th time in 14 seasons. This win locked up a tiebreaker over the 47-33 Suns, who face the 47-32 Grizzlies on Monday. No matter what happens, the Mavs can claim the seventh seed with a win in Memphis during Wednesday’s regular-season finale.

Play of the game: After Nowitzki’s go-ahead 3-pointer with 4:34 to go, Ellis poked the ball loose from Channing Frye and went flying down the left side of the floor, finishing with a lefty layup despite being challenged by Bledsoe. That stretched the Mavs’ lead to five points with 4:00 remaining.

Stat of the night: The American Airlines Center’s two residents clinched playoff appearances with home wins on consecutive nights. The NHL’s Dallas Stars punched their playoff ticket Friday night with a win over the St. Louis Blues.

Rapid Reaction: Spurs 109, Mavs 100

April, 10, 2014
Apr 10

DALLAS -- The San Antonio Spurs’ dominance of the Dallas Mavericks continued with a convincing 109-100 win by the visitors Thursday night at the American Airlines Center.

How it happened: The Spurs dominated the third quarter and improved their record to 51-1 in games they lead entering the fourth this season.

San Antonio’s inside-outside, one-two punch of Tim Duncan and Patty Mills was primarily responsible for the Spurs outscoring the Mavs by a 34-21 margin in the third, turning a two-point halftime deficit into a double-digit lead. With 11 points apiece, Duncan and Mills outscored the Mavs by themselves in the quarter.

Mills, who filled in for All-Star point guard Tony Parker (back) in the starting lineup, led the Spurs with 26 points and was 6-of-11 from 3-point range. San Antonio scorched the Mavs from long range, hitting 16 of 34 3-point attempts.

Duncan dominated inside despite hyperextending his right knee in the first quarter, a scare that sidelined him only briefly after he limped off the floor to the locker room for further observation. The four-time NBA champion finished with 20 points and 15 rebounds.

Spurs small forward Kawhi Leonard had a spectacular all-around performance, scoring 16 points, grabbing 16 rebounds and dishing out five assists.

Monta Ellis (24 points) and Dirk Nowitzki (19 points) put up nice numbers, but only two other Mavs scored in double figures. While the Spurs lit it up from long distance, the Mavs were only 5-of-12 from 3-point range.

The Mavs went on an 8-0 run late in the fourth quarter, but that was too little, too late. Leonard ended the run with a dagger 3.

What it means: It's the Mavs' ninth straight loss to the Spurs, and this drops them back in eighth place in the Western Conference. The Phoenix Suns (47-31) are percentage points ahead of the 48-32 Mavs, who have lost five of their past eight games at the American Airlines Center. The Memphis Grizzlies are a game behind the Suns and Mavs. Those three teams all face each other in a five-day span, starting with Suns at Mavs on Saturday night. The Spurs, who have the league’s best record at 61-18, padded their lead over the Oklahoma City Thunder at the top of the West standings to 3½ games with three games remaining on San Antonio’s schedule.

Play of the game: Leonard scooped up a loose ball and went coast to coast for a one-handed slam over Nowitzki with 10:31 to go in the third quarter. Leonard showed incredible acceleration for a 6-foot-7, 230-pound small forward. Nowitzki never got off the floor to challenge Leonard at the rim, but it would have almost certainly been a futile attempt anyway. The dunk capped a 6-0 run to start the second half, giving the Spurs a 6-0 lead.

Stat of the night: The Spurs are the 13th team in NBA history to win at least 30 road games in a season, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Seven of the previous 12 won championships that season.

Rapid Reaction: Mavs 93, Kings 91

April, 6, 2014
Apr 6

SACRAMENTO -- The Sacramento Kings made the Dallas Mavericks sweat again, but the Mavs pulled out a 93-91 win to help boost their playoff hopes.

How it happened: The Mavs managed to hold off the Kings despite monster performances by Kings stars DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay, who have lit it up against Dallas all season.

Gay led all scorers with 32 points on 12-of-18 shooting, his third 30-point performance in three games against the Mavs this season. Cousins added 28 points and 10 rebounds, numbers pretty close to his norm against Dallas.

However, those were the only two Sacramento players to score in double figures. Four Mavs finished in double figures, led by Monta Ellis’ 23 points.

Mavs sixth man Vince Carter scored nine of his 17 points in the fourth quarter, including a 3-pointer with 4:55 remaining that gave the Mavs the lead for good.

Dirk Nowitzki, who arrived in Sacramento on a six-game hot streak since mentor Holger Geschwindner’s arrival from Germany, had an off night. He scored only 15 points on 5-of-17 shooting, leaving him 18 shy of passing Oscar Robertson for 10th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Nowitzki split a pair of free throws with 7.7 seconds remaining, giving the Kings an opportunity to tie or win the game on the final possession.

But Cousins' air-balled a difficult baseline fadeaway at the buzzer, allowing Dallas to breathe a big sigh of relief.

What it means: With their fifth straight road win, the Mavs maintained sole possession of seventh place in the Western Conference. They might have a little separation in the morning, depending on the outcomes of the Memphis Grizzlies-San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder-Phoenix Suns games. The Mavs won three of four games this season against the 27-50 Kings.

Play of the game: Ellis drove the lane for an and-1 layup to stretch the Mavs’ lead to six with 1:51 remaining. Cousins attempted to draw a charge, and the Sleep Train Arena crowd loudly booed the call.

Stat of the night: Carter passed Elgin Baylor for 26th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list when he hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 4:55 remaining.

LOS ANGELES – The Dallas Mavericks finished off a back-to-back sweep of the Staples Center squads Friday night with a 107-95 win over the Los Angeles Lakers.

How it happened: These certainly aren’t the Lakers we’re used to watching, but Dirk Nowitzki delivered a vintage performance.

Nowitzki lit up the Lakers for 27 points on 11-of-14 shooting, passing Dominique Wilkins for 11th place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list in the process. He added nine rebounds and five assists during a win in which the Mavs pulled away in the second half.

The Mavs also got big games from their big men. Starting center Samuel Dalembert had 14 points and 14 rebounds in 21 minutes. Backup Brandan Wright scored 23 points on 10-of-10 shooting and grabbed five rebounds.

Those performances helped the Mavs overcome off nights by two of their best offensive weapons. Sixth man Vince Carter was scoreless, missing all eight of his shots from the floor. Guard Monta Ellis had only eight points on 3-of-13 shooting, although he did dish out nine assists.

What it means: The Mavs held onto sole possession of seventh place in the Western Conference, maintaining a half-game lead over the Memphis Grizzlies and Phoenix Suns, who both also won Friday night. The 46-31 Mavs have won four road games in a row (sandwiched around a homestand) and are starting this four-game trip with two victories at Staples Center. The lottery-bound Lakers dropped to 25-51.

Play of the game: It’s a sight we might never see again: Nowitzki being defended by old pal Steve Nash after a second-quarter switch. Nowitzki caught the ball above the left elbow with Nash on his back after a pick-and-pop with Devin Harris. Nowitzki put the ball on the floor, spun and launched a pretty, high-arching, 15-foot turnaround jumper that splashed through the net to stretch the Mavs’ lead to four points.

Stat of the night: This marks the first time in franchise history that the Mavs have swept the season series against the Lakers.

Rapid Reaction: Mavs 113, Clippers 107

April, 4, 2014
Apr 4

LOS ANGELES – The Dallas Mavericks gave their playoff hopes a big boost by holding on for a 113-107 victory Thursday night over the Los Angeles Clippers.

How it happened: The Mavs finally closed against the Clippers.

But not without some white-knuckle moments.

Dallas took the lead with a 10-0 run, fueled by a pair of Dirk Nowitzki 3-pointers, the second of which capped the spurt with 6 minutes, 36 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. The lead was 12 with 2:51 remaining.

Then the Clippers responded with a 10-0 run over the next 85 seconds, cutting the deficit to two points and conjuring up memories of the Mavs being dominated in crunch time during their three losses to Los Angeles’ contending team this season.

The Clippers had a couple of chances to tie the game or take the lead in the final minute, but J.J. Redick and Darren Collison missed 3-pointers. Collison, who was blamed for many of the Mavs’ clutch failures during his brief stint in Dallas last season, airballed a corner 3 with 26.9 seconds remaining, a rough ending to his 22-point performance.

Nowitzki knocked down a couple of free throws on the ensuing possession, giving the Mavs a two-possession cushion.

Nowitzki scored 10 of his team-high 26 points in the fourth quarter, when he was 3-of-5 from the floor. He had been horrendous in fourth quarters in the three losses to the Clippers this season, scoring a total of 10 points on 2-of-17 shooting.

The Mavs overcame dominant performances from Lob City’s two most spectacular leapers. Blake Griffin had a 25-point, 10-rebound, 11-assist triple-double. DeAndre Jordan had 21 points and 15 rebounds.

Nowitzki, who also led the Mavs with 11 rebounds, was one of five Dallas players to score in double figures.

What it means: The Mavs are alone in seventh place in the Western Conference after avoiding being swept by the Clippers in the season series. At 45-31, the Mavs have a half-game cushion on the Memphis Grizzlies and Phoenix Suns with six games remaining. The third-place Clippers fell to 54-23, putting them 2 games behind the Oklahoma City Thunder and 3 games ahead of the Houston Rockets.

Play of the game: The Clippers had a bunch of high-flying highlights, but the biggest buckets of the game were a pair of Nowitzki 3-pointers during the Mavs’ go-ahead 10-0 run in the fourth quarter. Both shots came off Devin Harris dishes to the same spot on the left wing, the first putting the Mavs up five and the second stretching the lead to 10.

Stat of the night: Half of Nowitzki's six double-doubles this season have come in the last five games.

Rapid Reaction: Clippers 109, Mavs 103

March, 27, 2014
Mar 27

DALLAS -- The Mavericks failed to close the door on the Los Angeles Clippers, blowing a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter of a 109-103 loss Thursday night at American Airlines Center.

How it happened: The high-powered Mavs offense went kaput down the stretch.

Dallas made only one field goal in the final five minutes. That allowed the Clippers to complete a comeback after they fell behind by 10 points earlier in the quarter.

Dirk Nowitzki, who was outstanding again for most of the game and finished with 21 points, was 0-for-4 from the floor and 1-of-3 from the line during crunch time and committed a crucial turnover. Monta Ellis, who had a miserable shooting night (4-of-19), made the Mavs’ only basket down the stretch but missed badly on two wild jumpers after Clippers star Blake Griffin’s transition layup tied the score with 1 minute, 16 seconds remaining.

The Clippers took the lead for good with 33.9 seconds remaining, when Griffin beat Brandan Wright on a beautiful spin move for a layup. Griffin finished with 18 points and 13 rebounds.

Chris Paul carried the Clippers offensively for most of the game. He led all scorers with 31 points and had nine assists.

What it means: The Mavs (43-30) are alone in ninth place in the Western Conference, a half-game behind the Phoenix Suns and a game behind the Memphis Grizzlies. They’re 3-3 on this homestand, with the three losses coming by a combined total of 10 points. The Clippers improved to 51-22, maintaining their one-game lead over the Houston Rockets for third place in the West.

Play of the game: Griffin grabbed a defensive rebound, pushed the ball in transition and threw an underhanded lob to DeAndre Jordan from the dotted line. Jordan soared way over the rim -- not to mention over on-the-floor Nowitzki -- for a one-handed flush that made the crowd buzz for a couple of minutes in the second quarter. It wasn't a key play in the game, but it will look pretty on "SportsCenter."

Stat of the night: The Mavs blew double-digit leads in each of their three losses to the Clippers this season.

Rapid Reaction: Nets 107, Mavs 104 (OT)

March, 23, 2014
Mar 23

DALLAS -- The Mavericks blew a double-digit, fourth-quarter lead before suffering a 107-104 overtime loss to the Brooklyn Nets on a dreadful night for superstar Dirk Nowitzki.

How it happened: The Mavs couldn’t close the door with Nowitzki struggling through his worst shooting outing of the season.

Nowitzki finished the night with 10 points on 2-of-12 shooting. He was 1-of-10 in regulation, including a couple of missed one-legged fadeaways while the Mavs were protecting a small lead in the final couple of minutes.

After Nowitzki air-balled his final regulation attempt, Brooklyn’s Joe Johnson drove for a layup to tie the score with 9.9 seconds remaining. The Mavs settled for Monta Ellis launching a long, off-the-dribble 3-pointer at the buzzer, a shot that missed off the back iron.

Johnson scored five of his team-high 21 points in overtime, including a 3-pointer with 3:57 remaining that gave Brooklyn the lead for good.

Ellis hit a couple of 3s in the final minute of overtime, giving him a game-high 32 points, but it wasn’t enough to pull out the win. He missed a running 3 at the buzzer that would have sent the game into a second overtime.

Arguably the best performance of Mavs center Samuel Dalembert’s season was wasted. He set season highs with 15 rebounds and seven blocks, as well as scoring 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting.

The Nets went on a 14-0 run early in the fourth quarter, fueled by the 3-point marksmanship of Marcus Thornton (20 points, 7-of-11 shooting) to take the lead. The game was tight for the rest of regulation.

What it means: At 42-29, the Mavs are back in eighth place in the Western Conference. They’re percentage points behind the Memphis Grizzlies and only a half-game ahead of the Phoenix Suns. The Nets improved to 37-31, including 27-10 in 2014.

Play of the game: Shaun Livingston picked off a Shawn Marion pass and streaked down the floor for an uncontested layup to give the Nets a five-point lead with 2:16 remaining. That was Brooklyn’s biggest lead of the game at that point.

Stat of the night: Nowitzki was 7-of-27 from the floor in two games against the Nets, who are coached by former Mavs point guard Jason Kidd.

Rapid Reaction: Wolves 123, Mavs 122 (OT)

March, 19, 2014
Mar 19

DALLAS -- A furious rally by the Dallas Mavericks fell short in a 123-122 overtime loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

How it happened: The Mavs couldn't complete what would have been their biggest comeback of the season.

A crunch-time scoring flurry by Monta Ellis, who scored 12 of his 22 points in the final 3:49 of regulation, allowed the Mavs to send the game into overtime. A one-legged fadeaway by Dirk Nowitzki gave Dallas a lead with 33.1 seconds left.

But All-Star power forward Kevin Love responded with the game-winning floater on the following possession. Nowitzki missed a midrange jumper with Love in his face at the buzzer.

The Mavs trailed by as many as 22 points in the second quarter in large part because of terrible transition defense. But Dallas slashed the deficit to three points in a seven-minute span to make it a game.

Minnesota built the lead back up to 13 in the fourth quarter before Ellis, who was plagued with foul trouble for most of the game, took over. However, with Nowitzki missing all five of his shots from the field in the fourth quarter, the Mavs couldn't finish the job in regulation.

Love led all scorers with 35 points, including six of the Timberwolves’ 10 in overtime. Minnesota point guard Ricky Rubio stuffed the box score with a 22-point, 15-assist, 10-rebound, 4-steal outing.

Nowitzki led the Mavs with 27 points, but he was only 11-of-27 from the field, including the miss at the buzzer.

What it means: The Mavs are back in eighth place in the Western Conference, percentage points behind the Memphis Grizzlies, after their three-game winning streak was snapped. Dallas (41-28) is two games behind the Golden State Warriors. The Timberwolves (34-32), who are five games out of the final playoff spot, will still need a miracle to make the postseason.

Play of the game: Love knocked down the game winner despite being double-teamed after dribbling to the left block. Love split Devin Harris and Shawn Marion before putting a floater over a leaping Brandan Wright to give the Timberwolves the lead with 17.1 seconds left.

Stat of the night: The Mavs' biggest comeback of the season was rallying from an 18-point deficit to defeat the Houston Rockets on Nov. 20 at the American Airlines Center.

Rapid Reaction: Mavs 109, Thunder 86

March, 16, 2014
Mar 16

OKLAHOMA CITY -- With Russell Westbrook resting, the Dallas Mavericks routed the Oklahoma City Thunder 109-86.

How it happened: Dallas left no doubt during its first victory in Oklahoma City since the epic Game 4 comeback in the 2011 Western Conference finals.

This might have been the Mavs’ best all-around performance of the season. Dallas shot 53.3 percent from the floor, made 13 of 24 3-point attempts and had eight players score at least eight points. The Mavs also held the Thunder, one of the league’s most potent offensive teams even with their explosive point guard in street clothes, to 36.7 percent shooting.

MVP candidate Kevin Durant led all scorers with 30 points, but he wasn’t as efficient as usual, going 8-of-20 from the floor. Serge Ibaka and Reggie Jackson were the only other Oklahoma City players to score in double figures.

Shawn Marion, the primary defender on Durant, led the Mavs with 19 points and grabbed six rebounds. Vince Carter (18 points) and Jose Calderon (16) were both 4-of-8 from 3-point range.

Thunder coach Scott Brooks waved the white flag midway through the fourth quarter, going deep into the bench with the Mavs leading by 23 points. The Mavs had the luxury of resting their starters down the stretch on the front end of a back-to-back, with Dirk Nowitzki (17 points) playing only 30 minutes.

What it means: It’s proof that the Mavs can actually beat the Thunder, snapping Dallas’ 11-game losing streak (including the 2012 playoffs) to its Red River neighbors. This outcome also makes another Thunder-Mavs playoff series a little more likely. The Mavs (40-27) created a half-game cushion over the Memphis Grizzlies for seventh place in the West. Dallas also is only a game behind the sixth-place Golden State Warriors, having made up two games since last week’s loss in Oakland. In the fight for the West’s top seed, the Thunder (48-18) fell two games behind the San Antonio Spurs pending the outcome of the Spurs-Jazz game.

Play of the game: Is Devin Harris even capable of overthrowing a lob pass to Brandan Wright? It certainly didn’t seem like it when Wright soared near the top of the backboard to catch a wild alley-oop from Harris late in the third quarter, throwing it down with his left hand to stretch the Mavs’ lead to 21. Harris was driving on the right side of the lane when he floated up the one-handed, off-balance lob on the other side of the rim. Wright’s catch was ridiculous on its own. To throw it down in the same motion made this one of the prettiest plays of the Mavs’ season.

Stat of the night: With a 3-pointer late in the third quarter, Carter became the 27th player in NBA history to score 23,000 career points.

Rapid Reaction: Mavs 108, Jazz 101

March, 12, 2014
Mar 12

The Dallas Mavericks put an end to a three-game road losing streak with a much-needed 108-101 win over the Utah Jazz.

How it happened: Mavs coach Rick Carlisle loves to say there are circle-the-wagons games. After suffering a disappointing loss to the Golden State Warriors, the game against the Utah Jazz represented another one of those games. The first three quarters the two teams tied the game 14 times and exchanged leads 16 lead changes.

For the longest time, it appeared that the Mavs weren't going to be able to shake the Jazz. A strong surge with less than nine minutes left allowed the Mavericks to gain enough traction to secure the victory.

On the night he passed John Havlicek for 12th place on the all-time scoring list, Dirk Nowitzki got going early. After not playing with authority in the game against Golden State, Nowitzki came out aggressive against Utah as he scored 10 of Dallas' first 14 points. It was the same story as the game continued. The Jazz simply didn't have an answer for Nowitzki. He ended the night with 31 points on 12-of-14 shooting.

Monta Ellis struggled from the field early as he missed seven of his first eight shots, but he found a groove late in the third quarter as he hit three straight. With his shooting woes behind him, Ellis hit five of his final seven shots. Ellis played the role of facilitator early, finishing with 16 points and a team-high 11 assists.

After exiting after only seven minutes against Golden State because of a sore right Achilles, Devin Harris played with the tenacity that the team saw in his previous two games before the setback. Closing minutes were necessary for Harris, but he provided a huge spark off the bench with 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting.

What it means: Dallas has three days off before its next road game in a broken-up trip. It will be the final road game for quite a while as the Mavs will began a season-high eight-game homestand against the Boston Celtics on March 17. It won't be easy in the final game of the trip as they will take on the Oklahoma City Thunder, which has won seven straight and nine of the past 10 regular-season meetings with Dallas. The Mavericks' most recent win over the Thunder in the regular season came at Dallas on Jan. 2, 2012. The Mavericks have dropped five straight road meetings with the Thunder.

Play of the game: An 11-2 burst in the fourth quarter was capped off by Devin Harris. Off a Gordon Hayward missed 3-point shot, Nowitzki grabbed the rebound and threw an outlet pass to Harris, who leaked out. Harris drove to the rim and finished while taking contact from Diante Garrett. He got the layup and foul call, resulting in a six-point swing to give the Mavericks a 91-85 lead.

Stat of the night: The Mavericks are now 5-0 on the second night of back-to-back road games this season. The wins came against Milwaukee and Orlando back in November and Indiana and Detroit in February.



Dirk Nowitzki
21.7 2.7 0.9 32.9
ReboundsS. Marion 6.5
AssistsM. Ellis 5.7
StealsM. Ellis 1.7
BlocksB. Wright 0.9