Dallas played a half to forget on Friday night, before following it up with more schizophrenic basketball during a second-half that showed both how potent and how listless this Mavericks offense can be. When it was over, Dallas had overcome a 23-point deficit in the first half, and a nine point deficit in the final minutes of regulation, to force overtime and come away with a 122-116 win.
Here are six things we learned after tonight's overtime win.
Contract. Year. Raymond. Felton.
Who is Raymond Felton? Raymond Felton is your favorite action movie protagonist, doing just enough for the first 9/10 of the movie to keep everything from blowing up, only to find himself hanging by his fingertips from the Empire State Building, bad guy standing over him giving a way-too-long-just-kill-him-already speech, with 25 seconds left to defuse the bomb.
He somehow manages to not only thwart the villain's plans by defusing the bomb and arresting said villain, but he also got the girl, and your mother to boot.
He scored 16 points and dished out six assists as Dallas eliminated a 23-point first half deficit, and a nine point deficit with less than two minutes in regulation, to eventually knock off the Nuggets.
David Lee can be a legitimate contributor
Lee finished the game with a double-double, his first of the season, scoring 14 points and pulling down 14 rebounds in 26 minutes of play. He spent most of his time with Dirk, and they were once again very defensively inept, but Lee is quickly proving himself to be of significant value on the offensive end of the court.
Carlisle loves him some 3-guard + Dirk + Lee
It didn't make a major appearance tonight, but we still saw more than enough of the JJ, Felton, Harris, Lee, Dirk lineup. While it was a more efficient unit than it was against the Thunder, it's still a very defensively weak lineup, and shouldn't be on the court very often. Hopefully as Carlisle learns how to use Lee more, we'll begin to see that unit less.
Dallas was forced to go to the three-guard lineup again in overtime, after Wes Matthews fouled out (he got called for a few very questionable fouls throughout the night), but the Mavs still managed to pull out the win.
Dirk was quietly Dirk, while Parsons and Matthews showed they can lead a team
He didn't have his best shooting night, and yet Dirk wound up with 20 points and 13 rebounds. What a one trick pony, he is.
Meanwhile, Parsons and Matthews combined for 44 points, shooting 8-for-17 from deep, to help lead Dallas to the win. They both turned things on in the fourth quarter, helping Dallas force overtime and get the win.
Missed Free throws and poor 3-point shooting almost doomed Dallas
If it wasn't for a late flurry of made three-pointers, Dallas would have finished the night well below 30% from deep. Contributions from Matthews and Williams helped the Mavericks work their way to a 35.7% shooting night from beyond the arc.
Missed free throws late in regulation by Lee, Parsons, and Matthews, almost doomed the Mavericks, but in the end things turned out okay.
Ultimately, this team is critically flawed
They cannot defend well enough, or find a consistent-enough flow on offense, to be competitive come playoff time. This thing is what it is: an extremely frustrating, sometimes really good, six/seven seed that will make a hasty exit in the first round.