How it happened: It wasn’t pretty, but the Dallas Mavericks pulled out an overtime win over a Western Conference playoff contender.
The Mavs blew an 18-point lead in the process, forcing them to work double overtime for a 97-94 win over the Portland Trail Blazers.
The Mavs’ closing committee -- Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Terry and Jason Kidd -- didn’t get the job done at the end of regulation or the first overtime. They needed the fresh legs of newcomer Delonte West to put this one in the win column.
West scored the Mavs’ first six points of the second overtime, while Kidd watched from the bench. Dallas took the lead for good on a Brendan Haywood tip-in of a missed Shawn Marion layup that was set up by a sweet feed from West.
Nowitzki hit the dagger on the next possession after struggling for most of the game. He finished the night with 20 points on 7-of-20 shooting, missing fadeaways that could have won it at the end of regulation and the first overtime.
Seagoville native LaMarcus Aldridge showed the hometown crowd why he’s so deserving of his first All-Star bid with a 33-point, 12-rebound performance. He hit tough shots over Marion and Haywood near the end of regulation and the first overtime to force the Mavs to keep fighting.
What it means: The Mavs have reeled off three wins in a row after snapping a three-game losing skid. The win streak has given the 17-11 Mavs sole possession of fourth place in the Western Conference, a half-game ahead of the Houston Rockets.
Play of the game: Dirk couldn’t get much to drop after halftime, but he did hit the dagger. His off-the-dribble, 15-foot turnaround over Aldridge with 16.5 seconds remaining in the second overtime made it a two-possession game.
Stat of the night: The Mavs continue to thrive in the second game of back-to-backs despite being the NBA’s oldest team. They’re 7-3 in such games this season.