The scramble in the final seconds was obvious as the Dallas Mavericks seemed to be fighting against their erratic selves instead of the visiting Miami Heat. The plan was simple: get the ball into Dirk Nowitzki’s hands. After a slow start on Wednesday evening, the veteran give a stunning performance in the game’s epilogue by posting 28 points, so it was only right that he take the final shot – a shot that would have tied the game at 93-93 had the old man possessed it.
Instead, it was Raymond Felton who was forced to take the shot when there were no open looks to Nowitzki and the clock was winding down.
“We were going full court without a timeout,” Mavericks’ coach Rick Carlisle expressed about the final shot. “With our team, we have had better success in free flowing situations, getting good looks at the basket.”
He wasn’t about to let the blame fall on Felton’s able shoulders.
“It was obviously a bad decision on my part, the way it went, I should have taken a time out and set something else up.”
Small forward Chandler Parsons appeared to bring on his notable aggression early on in the game after he scored nine points in the first three minutes, but he faltered soon after that, his sluggishness apparent after closing the game with 12 points on 4-13 shooting.
The golden spot of the night (other than quietly contemplating Nowitzki’s new Ellen DeGeneres haircut, that obliviously didn’t have any affect on his game), was Justin Anderson, as he Simba-ed his way all over the Pride Lands in a graceful haze. Since both Devin Harris and Deron Williams are out, the young rookie has gotten some intense looks as he put another 20+ minute in the books. While he was relatively quiet on the offensive end of the court, his presence on the defensive end was key to keeping the Mavs in the game.
“I love the force plays with,” Carlisle said on Anderson. “The force and enthusiasm is off the charts, it’s just great, and that’s what we need with our team. He’s injected some real life into our roster and he played really well tonight.”
Another notable (and also irritating, if you’re a Mavs fan) aspect of the game was the return of Hassan Whiteside. Whiteside didn’t play in the first quarter (Ah… I see what happened there, Parsons!) but when he came in during the second, everything shifted when he started blocking shots on one end while nailing all the shots he took himself (five).
“He (Miami coach Erik Spoelstra) told me I would get in in the second quarter,” Whiteside said following the game. “We got on a run and I knew everyone was playing great and playing team basketball.”
The Mavericks look to bounce back on Friday when they face the always nettlesome (and painfully dangerous) San Antonio Spurs.
(28-22, 12-13 away)
(28-24, 15-9 home)
8:30 PM ET, February 3, 2016
American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX
Mia: H. Whiteside 10 Pts, 9 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl, 5 Blk
Dal: D. Nowitzki 28 Pts, 4 Reb, 1 Ast, 3 Blk