DALLAS -- The old-man Mavericks and the kids from Oklahoma City went into the final 2:18 of Friday night's game tied at 91-91. Needing a win to close out a disappointing homestand, Dallas figured to hold the edge with a group of veterans who've been here countless times before.
The Thunder, well, they're supposed to be just learning the ropes.
The Mavs prevailed, barely, 99-98, with Dirk Nowitzki scoring six points in the final 1:05. He hit a baseline jumper, sank two free throws and then buried the dagger to put Dallas up 99-96 with 6.4 seconds to go. Nowitzki held the ball at the top of the key, faced-up Oklahoma City forward Jeff Green for a couple of seconds, then rose up over him, swishing the jumper.
He wasn't about to pass up this opportunity to seal a victory that sends the club off on a five-game Eastern Conference road swing.
"I was tired, there was no way I was going to drive so I looked at him, looked at him and I was hoping that he'd back up so I didn't have to move and that's what he did," Nowitzki said. "He just gave me a little light and I was able to rise up, get a little space and knock it down. That was a big shot."
Nowitzki finished with a game-high 32 points. He made 14-of-15 at the free throw line. And this time he had a little help from his buddy Jason Terry. Rebounding from an awful, seven-point game Wednesday against the Lakers, the streaky Terry came through with 21 points and several key jumpers. Together, Nowitzki and Terry combined for 16 of the Mavs' final 18 points.
Terry gave the Mavs a 93-91 lead to get the final two-minute span off on the right foot.
Oklahoma City star Kevin Durant finished with 28 points, but he didn't have a great night. Mavs forward Shawn Marion did another fine job defensively, limiting Durant to six field goals on 18 attempts. Durant got his points at the 3-point line, hitting 4-of-5 and at the free throw line where he hit 14-of-16.
His 3-pointer with 2:58 to go tied it at 91-91. But, after being fouled behind the arc by Marion with 1:05 left, he missed the middle attempt, settling for two and a 93-93 tie.
Then Nowitzki went to work, giving the Mavs the lead back 95-93 with the baseline swish, followed by two free throws for a four-point cushion.
The Mavs hit the road, where they've been awfully good this season. They start out with an 11:30 a.m. game at Toronto on Sunday, followed by Monday's night's matchup at Boston. Washington, Philadelphia and New York round out the five-game, nine-day trip.
"We're going to be tested," Terry said. "But, we're up and ready for the test."