There’s a simple saying among Dallas Mavericks fans and media alike whenever number 41 does his signature move with his eyes locked on the ball magically swishes in the basket:
He’s still Dirk Nowitzki.
You know who ISN’T Dirk Nowitzki? Boston Celitics’ Kelly Olynyk. During Dallas’ 106-102 win over Olynyk’s team on Wednesday evening, Kelly attempted to pull Dirk’s famous one-legged fadeway without success.
Of course it was just plain adorbs on Olynyk’s part and Dirk took notice, as you can see his gleeful expression in the video above. However, during a stint in the fourth quarter, those jubilant faces were replaced by pensive looks of sure-fire assertiveness. With 21 seconds left in the game, former Maverick Jae Crowder cut Dallas’ lead to only two points.
But underdog Raymond Felton had other plans. With 16.5 seconds left, after Felton laid down two free throws, he managed to tip the ball away from Isaiah Thomas and into the hands of Deron Williams, who was immediately fouled. Williams’ two free throws were the final dagger in the neck of the Celtics.
This outcome seemed like a far-fetched notation early in the first quarter when the Mavericks trailed by 18 points as the dismal notation that they might snap their winning streak loomed before them. Behind Nowitzki, the Mavs attempted to get their heads back into the game during the second quarter, but only managed to close the first half trailing 54-45 as Dirk passed Dominique Wilkins for 13th place on the NBA’s all-time list for field goals made.
The deepness of the bench showed during the second half even without Charlie Villanueva, who was in Dallas for the birth of his daughter, but it was the starters (Chandler Parsons, Nowitzki, and Zaza Pachulia) who went on a 8-0 run at the start of the third, bringing the Mavs within one.
The win wasn’t an easy one and Dallas knew it. 17 of their turnovers led to 20 Celtic points while they scored 23 off of Boston’s 14 hand-offs.
The Mavs have been on an impressive five-game winning streak that included wins over the Houston Rockets and the Los Angeles Clippers, both of whom are jarring rivals, and look to extend their streak to six straight games with a win over the Utah Jazz on Friday in Dallas.
(8-4, 5-2 away)
(6-5, 3-4 home)
7:30 PM ET, November 18, 2015
TD Garden, Boston, MA
Dal: D. Nowitzki 23 Pts, 7 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl
Bos: J. Sullinger 18 Pts, 12 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Stl