How it happened: Playing for nothing but pride, the Mavericks pulled out a down-to-the-wire win over the playoff-bound Nuggets.
a href="http://espn.com/nba/player/_/id/3450/oj-mayo">O.J. Mayo hit a tie-breaking 3 with 34.1 seconds remaining in regulation, but he played a major role in the Nuggets' getting a shot at overtime.
Mayo redeemed himself with five points in overtime, including a 3 that gave the Mavs the lead for good with 2:40 remaining. He finished with 20 points, the first time he's scored that many since March 8.
Darren Collison hit a couple of clutch free throws with 1.9 ticks on the clock. Andre Iguodala, who hit the game-winning layup against Dallas last week in Denver, missed a contested 30-footer at the buzzer to seal the win for the Mavs.
The Mavs got magnificent performances from the veteran trio that is the core of this team currently and for the immediate future. Vince Carter (22 points, 12 rebounds, 7 assists) and Dirk Nowitzki (22 points, 10 rebounds) had double-doubles, and Shawn Marion added 15 points and eight rebounds.
What it means: The Mavs (39-40) are back to within a win of getting rid of those .500 beards. Their post-playoff-elimination goal of finishing the season with a winning record is still alive. The Nuggets (54-25) are tied with the Memphis Grizzlies in the fight for the West’s third seed, with the loser destined to drop to No. 5 behind the Pacific Division champion Los Angeles Clippers.
Play of the game: Carter drew two Denver defenders on a fast break and lobbed the ball up to Brandan Wright, who soared high above the rim to finish with two hands. That North Carolina connection gave the Mavs a 69-63 with a little less than four minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Stat of the night: Nowitzki is 10 points shy of 25,000 for his career. He’ll be the 17th player in NBA history to hit that milestone.