<
>

Nash hits game-winner in last second of OT

12/26/2001

SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Even a 53-point performance from Tim Duncan
couldn't stop the Dallas Mavericks, the NBA's hottest team.

Steve Nash scored 27 points and made a 3-pointer with 0.6
seconds remaining in overtime as the Mavericks won their seventh
consecutive game, defeating the San Antonio Spurs for only the 11th
time in their last 50 meetings, 126-123.

"I really wanted to hit a big shot in overtime and fortunately
I got that opportunity," Nash said. "We ran a pick and roll, and
when I came off the pick I tried to get the defense off of me and
create some space and was just able to get a good look."

Dallas won despite a career night by Duncan, who scored 28 of
his points in the fourth quarter and overtime and also pulled down
11 rebounds.

"I wish I'd have missed all my shots the way this turned out,"
said Duncan, who was 19-for-28 from the field and connected on 15
consecutive free throws.

The 53 points was fourth-most ever scored by a San Antonio
player and the most scored in an NBA game this season.

"They were getting the ball to me and I had to take my shots
and the shots were falling. We'll learn from this. We'll get
better," Duncan said.

Michael Finley led the Mavericks with 28 points, Dirk Nowitzki
added 26 and Tim Hardaway had 15.

"We had no answer for Duncan down low tonight," Dallas coach
Don Nelson said. "Other than that I thought we played pretty well
defensively. We were able to withstand many times when it looked
like we were going to lose the momentum and drop this one. When
your big three are all scoring in the 20's, that can offset a guy
scoring fifty-something. But I'm not saying next time he can have
75."

San Antonio, placed five players in double figures as David
Robinson backed Duncan with 13 points.

"It was a great game," San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said
after watching his team lose its second consecutive game after 10
consecutive victories in the month of December.

"I was pleased with what they (the Spurs) did and how they executed at both ends of the court. I thought he (Duncan) played great. It's great to see him taking charge. He's telling me what to run some of
the times."

The Mavericks opened the overtime period with consecutive
baskets by Nash and Hardaway to take a 120-116 lead.

San Antonio went back to Duncan, who answered with a 7-0 run of
his own to give the Spurs a 123-120 lead on a three-point play with
1:14 to play.

Hardaway tied the game 123-123 with a 27-foot 3-point field goal
with 26.3 seconds remaining.

"That 3 by Hardaway was huge," Nelson said. "We've seen him
do that against us many times in the past. That is what he brings
to this team. That is the type of thing that he is capable of doing
for you."

Following a San Antonio turnover, Nash hit the game-winning jump
shot. Terry Porter's desperation 3-point field goal was short at
the buzzer.

Leading 86-82 going to the fourth quarter, Dallas was able to
maintain its advantage by matching baskets with San Antonio.
Nowitzki scored on consecutive three-point plays to give the
Mavericks a 97-92 lead with 5:59 to play.

Duncan scored 13 consecutive points for San Antonio and his
driving bank shot brought the Spurs to 106-105 with three minutes
remaining.

Consecutive baskets by Nash gave Dallas a 112-107 lead with 1:45
to play.

After Juwan Howard connected on four consecutive free throws to
give Dallas a 116-111 lead, San Antonio rallied to tie the score on
two free throws by Duncan and Porter's 3-point field goal with 5.9
seconds to play.

The Mavericks led 59-58 at halftime behind 15 points from
Nowitzki and 14 from Finley. Duncan kept San Antonio close with 15
points for the Spurs.

Game notes
The 126 points was a season-high for the Mavericks ... With
the defeat, San Antonio now leads the overall series with Dallas by
a 65-44 count, including a 37-18 advantage in San Antonio ... The
game matched two of the NBA's top scoring teams, with Dallas
entering the game No. 1 with an average of 102.3 points a game
and San Antonio is No. 4 at 101.1 ... Duncan's double-double was
his 22nd this season and 242nd of his career.