Dallas Mavericks: Rapid Reaction

DALLAS – The series is headed back to San Antonio for Game 7 after the Dallas Mavericks pulled off a heart-pounding 113-111 comeback victory Friday over the San Antonio Spurs.

How it happened: The Mavs pulled off a comeback against the best closing team in basketball.

As was the case in the Mavs’ Game 3 win, Monta Ellis went on a clutch scoring flurry. He had 12 of his game-high 29 points in the final five minutes.

Eight of Ellis’ points came in a span of less than two minutes during a 13-2 Dallas run. That spurt gave the Mavs the lead for good, although there was plenty of drama left.

Tony Parker, who led the Spurs with 22 points, kept coming up with big buckets. He had 13 points in the fourth quarter, including layups on three consecutive possessions to pull the Spurs within one point with 49.4 seconds remaining.

After a Dallas timeout, Vince Carter drove against Boris Diaw and drew a foul, knocking down both free throws to push the lead back to three with 32.5 seconds remaining. Devin Harris deflected a Parker pass on the next possession, with DeJuan Blair (10 points, 14 rebounds) coming up with the loose ball and splitting a pair of free throws.

Blair grabbed a a rebound of Kawhi Leonard’s jumper and was fouled again with 23.7 seconds remaining. He split the free throws again and Shawn Marion rebounded the miss. Marion split a pair of free throws, too.

The Spurs gave themselves a shot to pull off a miracle in the final seconds, sandwiching 3-pointers by Danny Green and Patty Mills around two Ellis free throws. Ellis threw the ball away with 1.3 seconds remaining, but he deflected the ensuing inbounds pass. With 0.4 ticks on the clock, the Spurs got the ball to Mills, but he couldn’t get a shot off in time, and launched an airball anyway.

What it means: Game 7 is Sunday. ’Nuff said.

Play of the game: Ellis finished a fast break with an and-1 layup off a Harris dish to stretch the Mavs’ lead to six points with 3:22 remaining. Three Spurs were in the paint as Ellis came flying down the floor, but he slithered through traffic and Manu Ginobili slid his feet as he attempted to draw a charge.

Stat of the night: The Spurs are now 55-2 in games they led entering the fourth quarter this season. Their only other loss in such a game was Jan. 17 at home to the Portland Trail Blazers.

Rapid Reaction: Spurs 109, Mavericks 103

April, 30, 2014

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

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

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

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: Spurs 90, Mavs 85

April, 20, 2014
SAN ANTONIO -- The San Antonio Spurs slammed the door on the Dallas Mavericks’ Game 1 upset bid, as the West’s top seed dominated down the stretch of a 90-85 win.

How it happened: The Mavs became a mess after building a double-digit lead.

After Brandan Wright’s and-1 free throw put the Mavs up 10 points with 7:45 remaining, the Spurs locked down defensively, holding Dallas scoreless for the next five minutes, 40 seconds. San Antonio seized the lead for good by scoring 15 points during that span, including seven by future Hall of Fame power forward Tim Duncan.

Dallas didn’t score again from the floor after Wright’s bucket until Devin Harris’ meaningless layup with one-tenth of a second on the clock.

It was a sensational outing for Duncan, other than a scare when he banged knees with Mavs guard Monta Ellis during the third quarter, sidelining him briefly. Duncan scored a game-high 27 points on 12-of-20 shooting.

Dirk Nowitzki, the Mavs’ future Hall of Fame power forward, couldn’t come close to matching his longtime foe. Nowitzki never got in a groove, scoring only 11 points on 4-of-14 shooting.

After a slow start, the Mavs got a big boost from their bench, which scored 46 points. Harris had 13 of his team-high 19 points in the first half.

However, the Spurs got big games from the foundation of their last few championship teams. Tony Parker (21 points, six assists) and Manu Ginobili (17 points) served as sensational complements to Duncan.

What it means: The Spurs took a 1-0 series lead, extending their overall winning streak against the Mavs to 10 games. Dallas still hasn’t won a playoff game since clinching the 2011 championship in Miami.

Play of the game: After Nowitzki missed a wide-open layup, Duncan grabbed the rebound and threw an outlet pass to Parker to spark a one-man fast break. Parker spun past Harris in the lane and finished with a right-handed layup to give the Spurs the lead with 3:25 to go.

Stat of the day: Ellis’ plus-minus was minus-23 in 36 minutes.

Rapid Reaction: Griz 106, Mavs 105 (OT)

April, 16, 2014

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The fight to avoid the Western Conference’s 8-seed went down to the wire, with the Dallas Mavericks landing there after a 106-105 overtime loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.

How it happened: The Grizzlies pulled out a heart-pounding win in a game that had the intensity of a playoff game.

Memphis point guard Mike Conley scored the game-winning points by hitting a pair of free throws with 1.1 seconds remaining after a coast-to-coast drive.

Mavs guard Monta Ellis, whose 3-pointer with 13 seconds remaining in regulation tied the score, was magnificent throughout most of overtime. However, he missed his last two shots in the final minute, including a wide-open 20-footer at the buzzer.

Power forward Zach Randolph led the Grizzlies with 27 points and 14 rebounds. Center Marc Gasol nearly had a triple-double with 19 points, nine rebounds and nine assists. Conley added 22 points and five assists.

Mavs power forward Dirk Nowitzki scored a game-high 30 points, including a go-ahead 3-pointer with 46 seconds remaining in overtime. Ellis scored seven of his 18 points in overtime.

Ellis had an off night for the first 47 minutes, but he drilled that cold-blooded 3-pointer to tie the score with 13 seconds remaining in regulation. Randolph missed a long baseline fadeaway on the next possession, and the Grizzlies weren’t able to get a shot off after inbounding with 0.9 seconds remaining when the rebound went out of bounds off the Mavs.

The Mavs led by four with two minutes remaining in overtime and three after Nowitzki’s 3 in the final minute, but Dallas couldn’t close the door.

What it means: The Grizzlies get the 7-seed and the Mavs get the 8-seed that comes with a first-round date against the San Antonio Spurs. Memphis will face the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round. Dallas (49-33) fell short of 50 wins for the third consecutive season after hitting the milestone 11 straight times. The Grizzlies (50-32) finished the regular season with a franchise-record 14-game home winning streak.

Play of the game: Conley’s frantic drive in transition resulted in a foul by Vince Carter to send Conley to the line for the game-winning free throws with 1.1 seconds remaining. Conley grabbed the rebound after a missed Ellis jumper with 6.7 seconds on the clock and raced coast to coast.

Stat of the night: The Mavs played 22 games that were decided by three or fewer points this season (11 wins, 11 losses). According to Elias Sports Bureau research, that is the most such games for any team in the league and the second-most in a single season in the Mavericks’ franchise history (25 in 1983-84).

Rapid Reaction: Mavs 95, Jazz 83

April, 8, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY – The Dallas Mavericks finished off a 4-0 road trip by cruising to a 95-83 win over the Utah Jazz.

How it happened: The Mavs built a double-digit lead during a historically hot-shooting first quarter and never let the lottery-bound Jazz make a serious run.

The Mavs led by 14 after going 16-of-17 from the floor in the first quarter, when a Monta Ellis midrange jumper was the only miss. Dallas couldn’t keep up that record-setting pace, but Utah never cut the deficit to less than nine points.

On a night when he passed Oscar Robertson to become the 10th-leading scorer in NBA history, Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavs with 21 points on 9-of-11 shooting. He had 11 points on 5-of-5 shooting in the first quarter.

Ellis, who survived a scary fall when he was fouled by Utah center Derrick Favors in the first quarter, added 16 points and five assists.

The Jazz dominated the glass, winning the rebounding battle by a 47-36 margin, with backup center Enes Kanter putting up 15 points and 18 rebounds. But that wasn’t enough to keep up with a Dallas squad that shot 55.6 percent from the floor.

What it means: The Mavs’ magic number is down to two. They’ve got a two-game lead and the tiebreaker over the Memphis Grizzlies with three games remaining on the Mavs’ schedule. Dallas (48-31) is still in sole possession of seventh place in the Western Conference, leading the Phoenix Suns by a game and trailing the sixth-place Golden State Warriors by a game. The Jazz fell to 24-54.

Play of the game: It was a simple, open midrange jumper, a shot Nowitzki has knocked down countless times throughout his career, but this one was historic. After getting a feed from Carter, Nowitzki swished the jumper from above the right elbow to move past the “Big O” to 10th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.

Stat of the night: The Mavs set a franchise record for field goal percentage in a quarter by going 16-of-17 from the floor (94.1 percent) in the first. The previous record was 90 percent (18-of-20) in the third quarter against the San Antonio Spurs on Jan. 16, 1991. According to the Elias Stats Bureau, the Mavs shot the highest percentage of any team in a quarter since the Indiana Pacers were 20-of-21 (95.2 percent) in a quarter against the Denver Nuggets on Nov. 9, 2010.

Rapid Reaction: Mavs 93, Kings 91

April, 6, 2014

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.

Rapid Reaction: Mavericks 107, Lakers 95

April, 4, 2014

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

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.

DALLAS -- The Dallas Mavericks finished their marathon homestand in heartbreaking fashion, suffering a 122-120 overtime loss to the Golden State Warriors in a thrilling game with major playoff implications.

How it happened: For the second time this season, Warriors superstar Stephen Curry hit a last-second shot to beat the Mavericks.

Curry drained an off-the-dribble 21-footer from the right wing with 0.1 seconds in overtime for the game-winning shot.

That came on the possession after a controversial no-call on Jermaine O’Neal’s block of Monta Ellis’ driving floater. The Mavs, as well as many in the sellout crowd at the American Airlines Center, were screaming for a goaltending call.

Curry’s shot spoiled a spectacular performance by Mavs star Dirk Nowitzki, who had 33 points and 11 rebounds. Ellis added 27 points -- nine in the fourth quarter but none in overtime -- and six assists.

But the Mavs had major problems stopping Golden State throughout the game. With Mavs center Samuel Dalembert playing only seven minutes against the small-ball Warriors, Golden State scored 62 points in the paint and got hot late from the perimeter.

Golden State shot 57.1 percent from the floor and 15-of-31 from 3-point range for the game. Three Warriors starters scored at least 20 points -- Klay Thompson (27), Curry (23) and O’Neal (20) -- and Jordan Crawford added 19 off the bench.

The Mavs led by five after a spectacular slam dunk by Ellis over O'Neal with 3:24 remaining in regulation, but the Warriors rallied with perimeter shooting. Thompson hit a pair of 3-pointers in the final 3:04, including the game-tying shot with 1:01 remaining.

Neither team scored in the final 61 seconds of regulation. After getting a stop with 1.7 seconds remaining, the Mavs had a chance to win at the buzzer, but Ellis couldn’t catch the ball cleanly on the out-of-bounds play.

What it means: The Mavs, who would have been alone in seventh place with a win, are back on the outside looking in at the Western Conference playoff picture. Dallas fell to 44-31 after the 4-4 homestand, dropping into ninth place, a half-game behind the Memphis Grizzlies and Phoenix Suns. The sixth-place Warriors padded their cushion over the Suns and Grizzlies to two games.

Play of the game: Ellis came flying around the corner after taking a dribble handoff from Nowitzki on the right wing and threw down a ferocious tomahawk slam in O’Neal’s face. That stretched the Mavs’ lead to five points with 3:24 remaining. It didn’t end up being the dagger it seemed like it might be at the time, but it was one of the more breathtaking highlights of the Mavs’ season.

Stat of the night: Half of the games in this homestand went to overtime. The Mavs were 1-3 in those games.

Rapid Reaction: Mavs 103, Kings 100

March, 29, 2014

DALLAS -- It wasn't pretty, but the Dallas Mavericks pulled out a desperately needed 103-100 victory Saturday night over the Sacramento Kings.

How it happened: The Mavs made it a heck of a lot harder than it should have been.

Dallas led by as many as 17 points in the second quarter before the Mavs started going through the motions. The Kings took their first lead of the game on a Rudy Gay putback with 7 minutes, 26 seconds remaining and went up by five midway through the fourth quarter.

The Mavs’ biggest points didn’t come from either of their co-closers, Dirk Nowitzki and Monta Ellis. Shawn Marion, who was on the floor primarily to defend Gay (30 points), gave the Mavs the lead for good on a pair of free throws with 2:38 to go and hit a huge corner 3 on Dallas’ next possession.

Marion, who fought for an offensive rebound before getting fouled for the go-ahead free throws, finished with 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting. He was one of six Mavs to score in double figures.

Nowitzki led Dallas with 19 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists. He was 9-of-10 from the line, including 4-of-4 in the final 80 seconds.

Ellis missed a pair of free throws with 6.8 seconds remaining, leaving the door cracked for the Kings. However, Travis Outlaw's potential game-tying 3-point attempt was way off on the final possession.

The Kings were missing 20-plus-points-per-game point guard Isaiah Thomas, who sat out due to a bruised right thigh.

What it means: The Mavs are still in ninth place in the Western Conference, but they’re only percentage points behind the Memphis Grizzlies and a half-game behind the seventh-place Phoenix Suns. The Mavs (44-30 overall) guaranteed that they would at least finish .500 on this eight-game homestand that wraps up Tuesday night against the Golden State Warriors. The Kings fell to 25-48.

Play of the game: Vince Carter turned the corner on DeMarcus Cousins, got in the lane and turned back the clock on a double-clutch, two-hand throwdown on the other side of the rim. The vintage Vinsanity moment stretched the Mavs’ lead to 12 with a little more than four minutes remaining in the first half.

Stat of the night: The Mavs have won 20 consecutive home games against Sacramento. The Kings’ last win at the American Airlines Center was Feb. 27, 2003.

Rapid Reaction: Clippers 109, Mavs 103

March, 27, 2014

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: Mavs 128, Thunder 119 (OT)

March, 25, 2014

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.



Monta Ellis
20.5 4.4 1.7 33.9
ReboundsT. Chandler 12.0
AssistsR. Rondo 7.0
StealsM. Ellis 1.7
BlocksT. Chandler 1.4