Recap: Minus Dirk, short-handed Mavs push Warriors to the brink before falling late
Recap: Mavericks 97 at Warriors 100
Minus Dirk, short-handed Mavs push Warriors to the brink before falling late
OAKLAND, Calif. — Just when it seemed like 11-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki had turned a personal corner, his season took yet another turn.
Two days after posting a season-high 26 points during a 106-104 defeat in Portland, Nowitzki hoped to lead his team to a victory in Oakland over the Golden State Warriors, who were without point guard Stephen Curry (sprained right ankle), in the second outing of a four-game road trip. But, with his team in need of a win, Nowitzki would once again be sidelined after playing 18 games following arthroscopic knee surgery, missing in action Thursday night due to a strained right adductor injury.
“I felt a little pull in the fourth quarter of the Portland game,” Nowitzki explained. “I told the trainers during the game about it, but I was able to finish it. After the game, I was already pretty sore the other night. I was hobbling and yesterday wasn’t very good, but the medicine kicked in pretty nice, so actually I gave it a shot before the game. I just really couldn’t get loose.”
He added: “It was just bothering me, so we didn’t want to really risk anything and we’ll see how it responds the next 24 hours.”
Meanwhile, with center Chris Kaman back in Dallas for further tests on the concussion he sustained in Monday’s practice, the Mavs would be without two 7-footers against the deadly Warriors’ front line of center Andrew Bogut and All-Star big man David Lee. And despite a valiant effort, the short-handed Mavericks (19-27) would come up just short after a second controversial call — or lack thereof — in as many games, falling to 0-2 on their current road trip after a 100-97 defeat.
Without Nowitzki and Kaman available, Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle rolled out his 18th different starting lineup of the season, inserting swingman Dahntay Jones at the 3 spot and big man Elton Brand at center alongside point guard Darren Collison, leading scorer O.J. Mayo and four-time All-Star forward Shawn Marion at the 4 in place of Nowitzki. And despite the best efforts of Marion, the Mavs would quickly find themselves in an 11-point hole coming out of the gate, before entering the second stanza looking up to a 28-23 deficit.
After scoring eight points and grabbing five rebounds in the first period, Marion would get a rest to start the second while Carlisle went deep into his bench. Still, behind their young contributors, the Mavs remained within an arm’s reach as big men Brandan Wright and Bernard James came off the bench and provided a spark before Marion moved into double figures and brought the Mavs within one.
Free throws by Mayo then tied the game at 48-all with 2:57 remaining in the half, before eight-time All-Star Vince Carter’s thunderous slam brought the Mavs within two, 55-53, entering the halftime intermission.
Led by Mayo’s 13 first-half points on 4-of-7 shooting to dual Klay Thompson’s 16 points at the other end, the Mavs matched the Warriors’ 50 percent shooting in the first 24 minutes of action. The Mavs also owned a 24-20 rebounding edge to make up for their nine turnovers for 15 Golden State points.
Continuing to fill up the stat sheet, Marion assisted Mayo in keeping the Mavs close as the third quarter got underway. But Lee would begin to dominate inside while Thompson continued to pile up the points, before back-to-back 3-pointers by Carter and Mayo brought the Mavs within four. Fourth-year guard Rodrigue Beaubois then followed suit, draining a triple to bring the Mavs within one, 80-79, entering the fourth period after a 9-0 run.
The Warriors (29-17) quickly gained back the momentum with the first 12 points of the final 12 minutes of play, culminating in Richard Jefferson’s reverse slam with 9:00 left on the clock shortly after Carter was assessed a technical foul for voicing his displeasure with officials.
“We cut it to one and then they had a 12-0 run,” Wright explained. “We shot a lot of jump shots and we just got out of rhythm. But we had our opportunity to win. We had an opportunity to make plays. We just fell short again.”
But the Mavs would come right back with a 13-0 run of their own to tie the game at 92-all, before Jarrett Jack’s 3-pointer regained the lead for the Warriors.
“I thought we played well in the zone, moved the ball and made high-percentage shots. We played well and we played hard,” Mayo said after his team fought back into the contest once again.
Wright’s personal foul on Bogut inside was then accompanied by a technical, but Thompson couldn’t answer on the extra free throw before Bogut extended the Warriors’ lead to 97-92 with 3:18 to play after a pair of shots from the foul line. Still, the Mavs continued to charge back after a floater by Marion and jumper by Collison made it just a one-point game.
Lee’s 1-of-2 trip to the foul line with 53.5 seconds remaining then made the deficit two, before Mayo also split a pair at the charity stripe to climb to within one with 42.5 ticks still left on the clock. But after a miss by Jack and Bogut’s unsuccessful tip attempts, Wright wouldn’t get the call on a jumper with plenty of contact down on the other end of the floor, sending the ball back over to the Warriors after an empty possession for Dallas.
“Hey, look, the game came down to the call that wasn’t made,” an emphatic Carlisle said just a day after the NBA publicly admitted that an offensive foul on Mayo was an incorrect call during the final seconds of the loss in Portland. “Brandan Wright got hit on the arm and it’s obvious. And it’s two nights in a row. It’s very tough to take with as hard as our guys are fighting to not be on the free throw line with a chance to go ahead with six seconds left or whatever it is.”
“We’ve been getting some tough calls lately, but I’m going to stay out of that. I’m not in the business of getting fined, so I’m going to leave it to what [Carlisle] said. But you guys saw the play, so you be the judge,” Wright later told reporters. “Officiating is a tough thing to do, but they’re human, so they’re going to make mistakes. We’ve just got to hope that it goes the other way next time.”
The Warriors then sprinted down the court before Carter fouled Jack, leading the point guard to calmly connect on two free throws with 2.0 seconds left for the Mavs to answer down three. And after a timeout by Carlisle, Mike James inbounded the ball into Carter, who worked off a double screen to the wing, where he collected the pass before flinging a 3 towards the rim that misfired as time expired.
“On that play, we were looking to get a shot up and we did,” Carlisle added in regard to the final sequence. “Those plays are hard. You’ve got a very short amount of time and they’re guarding the 3-point line.”
“We fought to the end. I can’t be mad at that,” Marion concluded. “We just fell short. At least it went down to a last-second shot. We got an opportunity to get a look to see if we could tie it up, but we weren’t fortunate. That’s it.”
Leading the way in defeat was Mayo, who scored 25 points on 8-of-13 shooting and 3-for-5 from 3-point range. Off the bench, Carter added 22 points, meanwhile, Marion posted a double-double with 18 points and a season-high 17 rebounds.
Despite going scoreless in the fourth, Thompson finished with a game-high 27 points on 11-of-18 shooting and 3-of-7 from behind the arc, leading five Warriors in double figures. The Mavs’ 44.4 percent shooting as a team also bettered the Warriors’ 42.9 percent, collecting a 47-46 rebounding edge and a 17-7 margin in fast-break points, but surrendering 22 points off their 15 turnovers compared to 13 points off Golden State’s 13 giveaways.
“I thought the boys really fought hard there in the fourth quarter, made a great run and just fell a little short. That’s the motto all season,” Nowitzki said after watching the game from the locker room. “A lot of games this whole month of January were right there and just at the end fell short, so closing out games has been tough for us all year, with or without me.”
“You know, it was a hard-fought game on the road. We’ve just got to come out with that one,” a still disappointed Mayo concluded by saying. “Pretty frustrating, but we’ve got to continue getting better. We can’t be discouraged or give up. We’ve still got a lot of basketball left and just have to continue going out there and playing hard.”
Note: The Mavericks will continue their road trip on the second night of a back-to-back by making a stop in Phoenix to face the Suns on Friday. The Mavericks lead the season series 2-0. The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest at 8 p.m. CT.