The guy who had two missed shots and a turnover in the final 55 seconds of regulation turned out to be the hero.
Yes, it’s that kind of season for your Dallas Mavericks.
In a pulsating, playoff-type game with the Oklahoma City Thunder last night at American Airlines Center, the Mavs faced a familiar scenario. For the third home game in less than a week, they were tied, with the ball, needing a shot to win on the final possession of regulation.
Against the Timberwolves last week Dirk Nowitzki badly missed an 18-foot jumper that led to overtime, and a loss. Sunday against the Nets Monta Ellis back-rimmed a 3-pointer that led to overtime, and a loss. So last night, it was Dirk again, rimming out a 30-footer at the buzzer that led to overtime and a … win.
The Mavs certainly need to get better looks at the end of games, but for one night – against an elite opponent far superior to the Timberwolves and Nets – they found a way to escape. And that path, not surprisingly, was through Nowitzki.
In the final minute of regulation he missed two shots and had his pocket picked for a turnover, courtesy of Russell Westbrook. But down three points, Brandan Wright grabbed Dallas’ biggest offensive rebound of the season and fed Jose Calderon for a huge, game-tying 3-pointer.
In overtime, Dirk shed his recent funk, swishing a Flamingo Fadeaway over Kevin Durant and nailing an open 3-pointer to provide breathing room in the thrilling 128-119 overtime victory.
The Mavs are infuriating. They are confounding. They are, above all else, entertaining. Three straight home overtime games and a 1-2 record. And two wins over the Thunder in the last 10 days, allowing them to cling onto 8th place in the West.
With the way this team scores, and fails to defend and executes inconsistently down the stretch, you get the feeling the drama is just getting started.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently writes a sports/guy stuff blog at DFWSportatorium.com and lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.