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Mavs final score: Dirk knocks out Knicks, 110-108

A buzzer-beating Nowitzki jumper helps Dallas escape New York.

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sport

Dirk Nowitzki may not exactly want most of this game in his Hall of Fame highlight reel, but he might take one play.

Nowitzki got the shooter's touch on the final shot of the game, and sent Dallas home winners.  It was a remarkable night, as Carmelo Anthony was the main attraction for most the show, scoring 44 points.  Vince Carter led Dallas with a season-high 23 points, while Dirk had just 15, but provided the finale.

So...that happened.

I don't know how things are going to turn out for Dallas this season, but it's honestly just pretty fun to be a part of the Dirk Nowitzki ride at the moment.

Dallas games lately are like 80's throwback games, with lots of points and very little defense.  Average score in their last four: 113 to 110(rounding up).  It's good to see that on a night where Dirk was relatively quiet, the Mavs can still put points up.

The Mavericks came storming out of the gate, or perhaps more aptly "launching out of the gate", as they made five three-pointers in the first quarter and led 31-21 after a buzzer-beater(a recurring trend!) from Monta Ellis.

Dallas stretched their lead to 13 about four minutes into the second period, before the Knicks went on an 11-0 run to cut the margin to just two.  The game would stay close until late in the third, when a Vince Carter three with under a minute left in the quarter made the lead double-digits again.  Carmelo Anthony had an answer, however; a quick six put the advantage back at two heading into the final frame.

The fourth quarter turned a little wacky.  The seemingly always pesky(and in a minor upset somehow still on the team?) J.R. Smith hit a three to put New York ahead in the first possession.  Vince Carter(who was unconscious for parts of this game) responded by burying back-to-back threes, and Dallas went backup by five.  This lead would hold for the next few minutes.

Meanwhile, Dirk Nowitzki was practically invisible.  He hoisted just three shots in the quarter, and missed the first two.

A Brandan Wright layup made the score 108-100 with a little more than a minute and a half left in regulation.  Dallas was poised to put the game away.  The Knicks, who came in losers of 8 of their last 10, fought back once more, and after back-to-back Monta Ellis turnovers, the high-point of Carmelo's highlight-quality performance arrived when 'Melo nailed a three-pointer that tied the game up at 108.

Anthony then found himself on Dirk Nowitzki in the waning seconds, playing tight defense on the seven footer, who had to force an off-balance, super-awkward shot before the horn.

In fairness to Carmelo, the game probably should have at least gone in to overtime.  A cold-hearted, fan-abusing Dirk had other designs.

Some observations:

  • Per Mark Followill, Dallas knocked down a season-high 15 threes tonight.  Carter had nearly half that, with seven.  Calderon had five.  Perhaps most remarkable about this fact is that it came on a night where Dirk Nowitzki went 0-5 from deep.
  • The Knicks also shot the ball well, and it is likely safe to say tonight's game won't be used in any defensive-oriented instructional videos.  They scored 108 points and lost by two despite 10 fewer field goal attempts than their opponent.  If not for 19 turnovers(from a team that is among the league's best in taking care of the basketball), New York might have won comfortably.
  • In a game with nearly 30 three-point bombs, the turnover differential is what decided this one.  Vince Carter and Jose Calderon -- two of Dallas' top three scorers tonight -- committed 0 turnovers, and Dirk had only 1.
  • Carmelo Anthony's last three games saw him put up 44, 42 and 35 points, so you had a feeling he'd go nuts again tonight. 44 points, but it was J.R. Smith who hoisted the team's last attempt with under 20 seconds left and a chance to un-tie the game in New York's favor.  The Knicks are now six games out of the playoffs.
With this win and a Phoenix defeat last night, the Dallas Mavericks move percentage points ahead of the Suns for 7th place in the Western Conference, though they are still a game back in the loss column.

Having closed out a three-game road trip, the Mavs will host a pair this week against New Orleans and Chicago before heading to San Antonio to take on the Spurs Sunday night.

I leave you with this(courtesy of SB Nation and poor Seth over at Posting and Toasting):

Long live Dirk!

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