Harris Gives Mavs OT Win Over Nuggets
Dallas 114, Denver 112 (OT)
DENVER, Jan. 6 (Ticker) -- The Dallas Mavericks may be tired because of a brutal stretch. Devin Harris gave them a lift as they head home.
Harris worked his way free on an inbounds play and connected on a layup with 2.2 seconds left in overtime to help the Mavericks escape with a 114-112 victory over the Denver Nuggets.
"Once you're in a close game like that, you just want to win it," said Dallas All-Star Dirk Nowitzki, who had 27 points and 10 rebounds. "You're not really worried about having to play (Saturday) or that we just played back-to-back. You want to find a way to win and leave it all out there on the court."
"We put out a lot of energy out there but it was a total team effort," Mavericks coach Avery Johnson said. "It was a hard-fought overtime game and fortunately we came out on the winning end. They're tough when you lose them and they're tough when you win them."
The contest was tied, 112-112, with 3.6 seconds left when Josh Howard spotted an open Harris near the basket and threw a great arching pass that allowed Harris to score the go-ahead basket.
"It was supposed to be three screens for Dirk to come up top," Harris said. "He wasn't really open, so at first I went to the corner then was able to slip the basket and they kind of forgot about me. It was a beautiful pass. I didn't have to dribble or anything. I just had to turn and shoot it."
The Nuggets disagreed on what happened on the play.
"We definitely had a breakdown on that last play," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "We had a foul to give and we talked about doing that. Miller and Buckner were kind of hanging out and they lost Harris. Two of our best defenders got picked."
"It wasn't a breakdown," said Nuggets guard Andre Miller, who was responsible for Harris on the play. "He went under the basket, backdoor. I was more helping than anything. He kind of fell into the layup because the five-second call was coming."
In regulation, Nowitzki's free throws with 7.5 seconds gave Dallas a 100-97 lead but Denver tied it on Carmelo Anthony's 3-pointer at the buzzer.
"We thought we had it won in regulation," Johnson said. "Carmelo made a tough shot. If we had to do it all over again, we probably would have fouled."
Nowitzki again put the team up by three in the extra session when he hit an 18-foot fadeaway with 8.5 seconds remaining. This time the Mavericks decided to foul Miller and not risk the Nuggets hitting another 3-pointer to send it into a second overtime.
After making the first attempt, Miller intentionally missed the second and Kenyon Martin followed it home to tie the game before Harris' heroics.
However, there was no third equalizer as Greg Buckner missed a desperation shot at the horn.
Jason Terry also had 27 points with seven assists for the Mavericks, who won for the sixth time in eight games.
Anthony finished with 28 points - his 18th consecutive 20-point effort - and Miller added 21 and 11 assists for Denver, which lost its fourth in a row to Dallas.