Rapid Reaction: Mavs 128, Thunder 119 (OT)
March, 25, 2014
By Tim MacMahon | ESPNDallas.com
DALLAS -- The Mavericks emerged with a 128-119 overtime win over the Oklahoma City Thunder in a wildly entertaining game that had a playoff feel.
How it happened: Maybe the third time was the charm for the Mavs.
Playing in overtime for the third time this homestand, the Mavs finally escaped the extra period with a win, which they desperately needed.
Dirk Nowitzki, coming off his worst shooting outing of the season, delivered a spectacular performance. Nowitzki scored seven of his team-high 32 points in overtime. He also pulled down 10 rebounds, had six assists and came up with four steals in arguably his best all-around game of the season.
The Mavs needed Nowitzki at his best to have a chance to beat the Thunder with MVP front-runner Kevin Durant putting on a show. Durant finished with 43 points on 15-of-27 shooting.
A Durant 3-pointer gave the Thunder the lead with 39.9 seconds left in regulation. Dallas point guard Jose Calderon (22 points, 6-of-9 3-point shooting) responded with a 3-pointer on the next possession to tie it up again.
After a Russell Westbrook miss, Nowitzki had a chance to win it at the regulation buzzer. His turnaround from 30-plus feet was on line but bounced off the front rim.
But the Mavs never trailed in overtime, taking the lead for good on a pair of Nowitzki free throws on their first possession of the extra period.
What it means: It's the biggest win of the season so far for the Mavs. At 43-29, the Mavs are in eighth place in the Western Conference, percentage points behind the Memphis Grizzlies and a half-game ahead of the Phoenix Suns. After losing 11 straight games to the Thunder, including a sweep in the 2012 postseason first round, the Mavs have two wins over Oklahoma City in 10 days. The Thunder fell to 52-19, 2½ games behind the San Antonio Spurs in the fight for first place in the West.
Play of the game: Nowitzki's one-legged fadeaway over Durant to give the Mavs a five-point lead midway through overtime was a thing of beauty. After dribbling a few times with his back to the basket, Nowitzki pivoted and launched the shot over Durant's long arm, never getting his body fully turned around to face the basket. The rainbow jumper hit nothing but net.
Stat of the night: This is the first time in Nowitzki's 16-year career that he has registered at least 32 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 steals.