Mavs Escape Lowly Lakers, But Now Face Revenge-Seeking Warriors

I don’t fully get Derek Harper. For example, with a minute left in last night’s game at the Lakers the Mavs’ TV analyst’s breakdown felt a tad hollow.

Asked by play-by-play voice Mark Followill what he expected from the Mavs on the key possession of a tie game, Harper offered only, “I expect that they’ve called the right play coming out of this timeout, and now it’s up to them to execute it.”


But the former point guard was spot on in his description of Dirk Nowitzki’s game-winning jumper in the final seconds. As Nowitzki sized up a Lakers’ double-team – and before the ball left his hands – Harper exclaimed …

“Let’s go home!”

As in, Dirk’s going to make this shot and win the game, so let’s head for the locker room and get outta here.

Done and done.

Putting a gorgeous exclamation on an otherwise hideous night, Nowitzki swished a 15-foot jumper from the right baseline right in front of LA’s bench with 2.1 seconds remaining. His reward? A 92-90 victory and a pat-on-the-butt acknowledgment from a Laker in a suit. Fella named Kobe Bryant.

While Harper was right and Nowitzki was relieved, the joy will likely be short-lived. Because tonight the Mavs play the NBA’s best team … under the worst circumstances. Consider:

*Golden State is 41-4, including 21-0 at home.

*The Warriors have won 39 in a row at Oracle Arena, where they haven’t lost in almost a full calendar year.

*Golden State is rested, and coming off 30+-point blowouts of the 2nd and 3rd-best teams in the league, the Spurs (30) and Cavaliers (34) in the past week.

*Since their last loss, the Warriors have won four straight by margins of 34, 31, 12 and 30 points.

*The Mavs were taxed in last night’s win over the 9-win Lakers, playing the second of a back-to-back after four of their five starters (including the 37-year-old Nowitzki) played 30+ minutes.

*As if those weren’t enough, the Warriors will be out for revenge. Remember, it was the Mavs who gave the Steph Curry-less Warriors their worst loss of the season – 114-91 back on Dec. 30 in Dallas.

Harper might have his work cut out tonight keeping this telecast entertaining. Because it could very well get ugly, and ugly early.

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 lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.

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