Dallas and Brooklyn both played games on the road last night, and it showed. Despite an impressive first quarter from Brooklyn, both teams looked sluggish and shot poorly, neither cracking 40 percent. Although a fourth quarter run gave Dallas a double-digit lead, Brooklyn made a late run of their own that sent the game to overtime. Dallas managed to get the win, but the highlight of the game was Dirk passing Moses Malone for seventh on the all-time scoring list.
Brooklyn was without Kevin Garnett and Deron Williams, both resting during the second game of a back-to-back, and started both Mason Plumlee and Brook Lopez. This worked well for the Nets, helping them to a pretty hot start. Lopez had ten of the Nets' first 12 points on five of five shooting, while Dallas' offense looked much more like a team on a SEGABABA. Dirk, who needed just 13 points to pass Malone on the all-time scorers list, had trouble connecting. Tyson Chandler answered on the other end in an effort to keep Brooklyn from running away with things early, but the Mavs weren't able to hold off the Nets' initial assault.
Despite talk of Dallas' improved defense recently, it wasn't anywhere to be seen during the first quarter. They had some bad luck (Lopez made some improbable shots), but the Mavs forced zero Nets turnovers in the first quarter, and there were moments like this:
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Jarrett Jack just blew by Devin Harris, which led to a dunk, which makes me almost as sad as OKC fans.</p>— Mavs Moneyball (@mavsmoneyball) <a href="https://twitter.com/mavsmoneyball/status/552266190945808386">January 6, 2015</a></blockquote>
<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
Carlisle's frustration with the performance earned him a technical late in the quarter, and the Nets expanded their lead to 13 on the accompanying free throw. An Alan Anderson three with seconds left gave the Nets their largest lead of the night, and the quarter ended with Dallas down 35-21.
The second quarter got off to a better start for the Mavericks, who cut the lead to six within the first three minutes. Despite poor shooting from Chandler Parsons (who scored his first points of the game with 30 seconds left in the half), Dirk, and Rajon Rondo, who were collectively four of 23, Tyson Chandler and Monta Ellis kept the Mavericks in the game, with some help from Charlie Villanueva and Richard Jefferson. But as tired as the Mavericks looked on offense, the Nets only managed 14 points in the second quarter, shooting just one of 13 from three and closed the half up 49-43.
The third quarter got off to a slow start for both Dallas and Brooklyn, with neither team on the board for nearly two minutes. But Dallas continued to chip away at the lead. Rondo's first made bucket of the evening tied the game at 51 four minutes into the quarter, as Brooklyn's offense continued to regress from their fast start. A Devin Harris jumper a few minutes later put the Mavs up for the first time all evening.
The lead went back and forth for several minutes. Each time it looked like Dallas might finally be ready to break away, things would start to break down. At the four-minute mark, Harris had an amazing block on a Sergey Karasev three that was brilliantly saved from out-of-bounds by Ellis, only to be turned over on a Chandler Parsons travel. But Devin seemed determined to save Dallas from itself, scoring nine points in the third, and the Nets continued to do their part, dropping to just 5.9 percent from three by the end of the third.
One of the best moments of an otherwise frustrating game happened with under three seconds left in the third quarter. Dirk made an incredibly difficult one-legged fade-away (of course he did) and was fouled on the shot. The made free-throw gave him the 12 points he needed this game to tie Moses Malone for seventh on the all-time scorers list. It also tied the game, 65-65.
The Mavericks opened the final quarter with a quick three from JJ Barea. Although Rondo's shooting woes continued, he earned an assist and rebound double-double by the start of the fourth, and Dallas was finally able to get a more substantial lead thanks to a 13-0 run that started late in the third. The Nets fought their way back, though, as the Mavericks continued to look discombobulated on offense, and with just two and a half minutes left they pulled within three on their first three-point make (courtesy of Joe Johnson) since the first quarter. Rondo missed two free throws on the next possession and Johnson hit another three to tie the game. A Jarrett Jack jumper gave Brooklyn the lead with 26 seconds left. Monta Ellis was fouled with 10 seconds left and made both free throws to tie the game. After a timeout, a Joe Johnson iso attempt was unsuccessful, sending the game into overtime.
Ellis put Dallas up early in OT with two quick jumpers. Parsons chose an opportune moment to make his first three-pointer of the evening, giving the Mavs a five point lead with under two minutes remaining. Chandler also came up big in extra time, with four points and two big offensive rebounds. Dirk also shook off his shooting slump to hit a three, giving him his 27,412th point and putting him above Malone on the all-time scoring list. Dallas never trailed in overtime, winning 96-88.
This certainly wasn't the Mavs' prettiest win, but we'll take it. They return to Dallas to face the Pistons at home on Wednesday at 7:30pm Central.