Mavs Extend Home Streak With Comeback
Dallas 115, Toronto 113 (OT)
DALLAS, Feb. 25 (Ticker) -- Dirk Nowitzki did it on both ends of the court to give the Dallas Mavericks their second biggest comeback in franchise history.
Nowitzki scored eight of his 32 points in overtime and made a crucial block at the end of regulation as the Mavericks rallied from a 24-point third-quarter deficit and posted a 115-113 victory over the Toronto Raptors.
"We were not very good for the first three-and-a-half quarters, but between the fourth quarter and overtime we outscored them, 41-22," Mavs coach Avery Johnson said. "There's something unique about this team."
Dallas overcame a 19-point second-half deficit in a 97-87 come-from-behind victory over Memphis on Thursday. The biggest comeback in team history was from 25 points down against the Denver Nuggets on Nov. 12, 1994.
"How many teams in our league can do what we've done in the last two games?" Johnson said. "This is what I call mental toughness in the fourth quarter and on.
"I don't think I'm doing a good enough job in our pregame meeting, I don't think I'm doing a good enough job emphasizing how important it is to get off to better starts. I think there's some confusion in regards to the game plan and that's my fault."
Nowitzki deflected a last-second driving attempt by Mike James to send the game into overtime, then hit three jumpers and a fast-break layup in the extra session.
"Dirk made the plays he needed to help his team and the rest is history,'" James said
Nowitzki's jumper over Matt Bonner from the right wing with one second left in overtime found nothing but net and propelled the Mavericks to their 18th win in their last 19 home games and a 25-4 mark in their last 29 games overall.
"We've been down before," Nowitzki said. "We knew if we could find a way to make a little push, we'd have a chance. With the shooters we have, anything is possible."
Bonner had tied the game with 12 seconds left in overtime with a 3-pointer - his first basket of the game.
Nowitzki shot 13-of-23 and added 11 rebounds. Jason Terry added 27 points, including five 3-pointers, and Jerry Stackhouse added 22 points in his first start of the season for Dallas, which improved to 5-2 in overtime this season and 12-0 at home against Eastern Conference teams this season.
All-Star Chris Bosh led Toronto with 29 points and 13 rebounds. James scored 20 of his 25 points in the first half, Charlie Villanueva added 23 and Morris Peterson chipped in 20 for the Raptors, who took an 86-62 bulge halfway through the third period after consecutive 3-pointers by Villanueva and James.
Much of James' struggles could be attributed to the defense and energy provided by reserve guard Darrell Armstrong, who put the clamps on James.
"I took the challenge against Mike James," said Armstrong, who was rewarded the game ball. "I love the challenge. But I knew he was shooting the ball well, playing well. All I did was try and put pressure on them, and I know pressure better than anybody. Pressure doesn't bother me. What I tried to do was get them to turn the ball over, make them play my game."
After watching the Raptors knock down 14 of their first 20 shots from the arc, the Mavericks joined in the fun over the last six minutes. Trailing 98-81, Dallas made five consecutive shots from 3-point range, including two by Terry, while Toronto missed 5-of-6 shots from the arc.
"We go into a zone cause we're in foul trouble and we tell our guys make sure you know where Dirk and Jason are," Toronto coach Sam Mitchell said. "Look at the tape. We've got guys standing there right in front of them. 'Go out and don't let them shoot the ball,' but young guys can't figure that out, what we're thinking at times."
A jumper by Nowitzki gave Dallas its first lead of the game, 105-103, with 50 seconds left in regulation, but Villanueva converted two free throws after being fouled on a baseline drive.