DALLAS – The O.J. Mayo clutch roller coaster can be one heck of a wild ride.
The Mavs survived the crazy twists and turns and highs and lows Friday night.
Start with Mayo drilling a tie-breaking 3-pointer from the right wing with 34.1 seconds remaining in regulation. If that leads holds up, Mayo is a relative hero.
Oh, but then that iffy basketball IQ owner Mark Cuban was discussing in team-wide terms popped up with less than 10 seconds on the clock. Mayo allowed Denver’s Andre Miller to strip the ball from behind, leading to an uncontested, game-tying layup by Corey Brewer with 3.9 seconds left.
Mayo had his chance to win it at the buzzer, driving down the lane for a finger roll … that rolled right off the rim.
“You’ve just got to understand that there’s still more game left,” Mayo said. “You can’t sit there and dwell on turning the ball over. Obviously, I didn’t mean to do it, but it happened, they got a layup and took the game into overtime.”
O.J. made it all good in OT.
Mayo scored the Mavs’ first two buckets of the extra frame, including a 3-pointer that gave them the lead for good with 2:40 to go. That put the finishing touches on his first 20-point performance in more than a month, prompting Dirk Nowitzki to declare that he was “proud” of Mayo.
“That’s what you look for with guys,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “Mistakes are going to happen, but who can make a mistake and then bounce right back and hit two or three shots in overtime, get a key deflection and just stay in it?
“That’s one of the things he’s learned; he’s learned about how to stick with it and how to keep going. I was really happy for him because it was a rough 10 seconds there at the end.”
A few more notes from the feisty Mavs’ win:
1. Dirk’s 25K delayed: Nowitzki scored 22 points, giving him 24,990 for his career. That left him thinking about Sunday’s win in Portland, when he scored only six points and didn’t play in the fourth quarter due to a minor ankle injury.
“Tonight would have been the night,” Nowitzki said. “Obviously, it would have been nicer to do it at home, but it is what it is. I think it’s a great milestone and eventually I’m going to get it.
“It’ll be a fun milestone to get, but more important to me is to finish the season strong, get a couple of wins and hopefully finish the season above .500.”
2. Collison’s closing touch: How confident were the Mavs when Darren Collison stepped to the line with 1.9 seconds left in overtime? Probably 100 percent.
That’s Collison’s free throw percentage in the final 30 seconds of games when the margin is within three points. He’s 15-of-15 in those situations, including 13-of-13 in the final 10 seconds under similar circumstances.
3. Brand back: Off-the-bench big man Elton Brand returned after missing the previous four games with a sore right calf. He had two points, four rebounds and two blocks in 14 minutes.