Rapid Reaction: Mavericks 100, Bulls 98
How it happened: Dirk Nowitzki dominated winning time, willing the Dallas Mavericks to a miraculous comeback win.
Nowitzki matched his season high with 35 points on 14-of-17 shooting, including 15 in the fourth quarter and eight in the final minute. He finished his clutch scoring flurry with the game-winning 3-pointer with less than three seconds remaining.
The Mavs stormed back from a 12-point deficit in the final minutes, finishing the game with a 15-1 run over the last 3:32.
Nowitzki’s corner 3 with 53.5 seconds remaining made it a two-point game. After Chicago’s Carlos Boozer split a pair of free throws, Nowitzki hit a one-legged fadeaway on the baseline to trim the deficit to one. He hit the game-winner the next possession.
Nate Robinson was one of three Bulls to score 25 points, joining power forward Carlos Boozer and small forward Luol Deng, but the reserve point guard’s ridiculous scoring flurry early in the fourth quarter appeared to be the turning point of the game.
Robinson took over right after the Mavs closed the third quarter with a 12-1 run to tie the game. He opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer from the right wing, starting a personal 11-2 run in the first 3:27 of the quarter to give the Bulls the lead for good.
Robinson finished his hot streak with one more 3, a ridiculous 32-footer with the shot clock ticking down midway through the quarter. He finished with 14 of his 25 points in the fourth. He was 9-of-16 from the floor and 7-of-7 from 3-point range in the game, 5-of-8 and 4-of-4 in the fourth.
But Dirk wasn’t done.
Robinson had a chance to send it into overtime after Nowitzki's heroics, but his jumper at the buzzer clanked off the iron.
What it means: The Mavs (36-37) pulled within a game of the Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Lakers in the fight for the West’s final playoff berth, pending the results of Saturday night’s games. Dallas won four of six games during the homestand, capping it with a thrilling victory over the 39-32 Bulls, the East’s fifth-place team.
Play of the game: How could it not be Nowitzki’s game-winner with 2.9 seconds remaining? He drilled in in Luol Deng’s face after Vince Carter found Nowitzki on the left wing.
Stat of the day: Nowitzki has a season-high 35 points in two of the Mavs’ past three games, lighting it up in heart-pounding wins over the Clippers and Bulls.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett at Mavericks media day to discuss his expectations for the upcoming season.
Play Podcast Mark Cuban joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Mavericks' new GM Gersson Rosas and much more.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss Mark Cuban's comments from Las Vegas about the Mavericks' offseason, how he sees the team without Dwight Howard and more.
Play Podcast Marc Stein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why the Mavericks didn't want to match Cleveland's offer to Andrew Bynum, what's next for the Mavs and the possibility of Dirk Nowitzki ending his career elsewhere.
Play Podcast Jeff Platt fires quick-hitters at Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon in the weekly sports standoff about Andrew Bynum, the Mavs' current backcourt, a potential Nelson Cruz suspension and more.
Play Podcast ESPN Los Angeles' Ramona Shelburne joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why she thinks Andrew Bynum got a bad rap in Los Angeles and how he would fit in with the Mavericks.
Play Podcast Buy, sell or hold? If Dwight Howard goes to another team, what are the Mavs' options? The guys take a look at a list of potential fallback options.
Play Podcast ESPN's Marc Stein joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the latest news on the Mavericks' meeting with Dwight Howard.