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Mavs win wild game featuring 194 field goal attempts

2/7/2002

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Dirk Nowitzki did the one thing the Indiana
Pacers could not do: make free throws in the closing seconds of an
overtime.

Nowitzki scored 38 points, grabbed 17 rebounds and hit the
game-winning free throws with 3.6 seconds left as the Dallas
Mavericks beat the Pacers 141-140 in double overtime Tuesday night.

Michael Finley scored 31 points and had 14 rebounds, Steve Nash
had 25 points and 10 assists and Tim Hardaway added 21 for the
Mavericks, who reached a season-high point total.

The Pacers had two chances in the first overtime and one in the
second to put Dallas away with free-throws but missed all six
attempts.

"They certainly had opportunities to put us away," said Dallas
coach Don Nelson. "Chances are, somebody's going to get a break
when you miss your free throws. That's the only reason we won the
game."

Jamaal Tinsley missed two free throws with 5.4 seconds left in
the first overtime and the score tied at 131. Jeff Foster grabbed
the rebound off the second miss and was fouled but also missed
twice.

"They missed four free throws in a row there, so I guess we
were lucky," said Nowitzki. "We've been in close games before. We
knew we could win it. Then they missed all those free throws and it
gave us some life."

With 1:56 left in the second overtime, Reggie Miller, who scored
23, put the Pacers ahead 136-134, and Austin Croshere followed with
a dunk on the next possession to make it 138-134.

Croshere, who hadn't scored more than 14 points this season and
had fallen out of coach Isiah Thomas' rotation, tied a career-high
with 32 points and had 12 rebounds. Jalen Rose led the Pacers with
33 points and Tinsley had 18 points and 19 assists.

Croshere had only played 23 minutes the last two games and had
been left on the bench in two games. With Jermaine O'Neal injured
and the Pacers hurt by foul trouble early, Croshere earned the most
minutes he'd seen in nearly a month.

"This game allowed me to play through mistakes that I may not
have been able to play through in other games," he said. "I only
hope that when everyone is back that the rotation will still be
there so I can get some meaningful minutes."

Hardaway made a 3 and Nowitzki made two free throws to cut the
deficit to 140-139 with 9.2 seconds left.

Then Jonathan Bender missed two free throws with 8.4 seconds
left, setting up Nowitzki's game winners.

Bender also missed a turnaround 11-footer as time expired.

The Pacers shot 49-for-101 from the floor and made 28 of 37 free
throws. The Pacers made all 24 free throws in the first half.
Dallas went 46-for-93 and made 38 of 42 free throws.

The Pacers ran into foul trouble early. Rose and Bender picked
up three each in the first quarter and when Foster was called for
his third to start the second, the Pacers went with a radically
different lineup.

The Pacers played most of the second quarter with Miller,
Tinsley, Best, Croshere and Bruno Sundov. Even little-used Norm
Richardson played the final 1:20 of the half when Best picked up
his third foul.

Dallas took advantage of the lineup that clearly wasn't used to
playing with each other and led by as many as 14 before settling
for a 67-58 lead at the half.

Game notes
O'Neal sat out with a sprained left ankle. ... Dallas coach
Don Nelson and assistant Del Harris both received technical fouls
in the first quarter. ...The 140 points were the most for Indiana
at Conseco Fieldhouse. ...Finley played 57 minutes, Nowitzki played
53 and Tinsley 56. Finley and Tinsley topped the most minutes by
any player in the NBA this season. ... Indiana's 33 3-point
attempts are a team record.