Harrison Barnes did the damn thing. Everything seemed lost. Yogi blew it by missing two free throws. JaMychal Green put back a missed shot to take the lead with almost no time left, then it was waived off as basket interference, then replay gave Memphis the points. Dallas had come so close, only to lose another close one late.
Except there was 0.5 left on the clock, and Harrison Barnes said no. He caught the in-bounds pass and calmly launched a contested three that just barely made it off his finger tips before the buzzer. And miraculously, it banked right it.
MAVS WIN. MAVS WIN. MAVS WIN.
Dallas was just bad in the first half
Other than a brief stretch at the beginning of the second quarter, the Mavs really looked like the team with the worst record in the league throughout the first half. They shot 22.7 percent from the field in the first. The shooting got a little better in the second quarter, but the defense completely fell off a cliff in the back half of that quarter. At half, Memphis was shooting 57 percent overall, and Dallas was down by 17 points.
Hum drum, the Mavs are bad, what else is new. BUT THEN.
The Mavs had ... a good?? third quarter??
Despite the aforementioned garbage first half, Dallas threatened to get themselves back in the third. At first, the run felt like it was fueled purely through long-range shooting. The Mavs started the third on a 13-2 run (and were still down 58-52 at that point—ugh, the first half was SO bad). A huge part of the run revolved around Dennis Smith Jr. heating up for his final game as a teenager. He is shooting 29 percent from range this season, but he hit three straight threes in the third. Not to be shown up, Dirk hit a three of his own the possession after DSJ’s third, and that brought Dallas within four of the Grizzlies.
The Grizz started to pull away again, but the Mavs kept scrapping, with JJ Barea and Devin Harris taking over for a bit after Rick bafflingly pulled a red hot Dennis. The Mavs strategy morphed from bombing to driving, and they managed to get themselves into the bonus late in the third through sheer aggressiveness. An offensive foul by Memphis led to free throws that finally tied the game. Devin took the lead with a layup shortly thereafter. Your Mavs took a two-point lead into the fourth quarter on the road.
And speaking of JJ....
The Dallas point guards put the team on their backs
Dirk and Barnes has 13 and 22 points, respectively, but it was the three-headed monster of Dennis Smith, Devin Harris and J.J. Barea who really drove the Mavs’ comeback. All three scored double digits, with most of the scoring coming in the second half. Things stayed tight throughout the fourth quarter, but then the most remarkable thing happened.
Dennis Smith, Jr. pulled down a rebound off a missed Chandler Parsons jumper, flipped on the hyperdrive apparently equipped in his signature sneakers, and outran everyone for a coast-to-coast dunk. That put the Mavs up 97-92, with just over a minute left.
Alas, a minute can be a long time. Marc Gasol was bad all night, but he was there when his team needed him. He scored five straight to tie the game at 92, and well, we’ve already discussed what happened after that.
As much as Harrison Barnes has been criticized at times for missing a couple of big shots at the end of games, he looked so confident taking that buzzer beater. It’s everything you could want from the team’s star player. Barnes himself called an answered prayer after the game, but watching it, it looked like pure skill. He absolutely did the thing, and deserves all the credit.
Dallas has now won two of their last three games. And are honestly just oh so close to being on a three-game winning streak, if not for the dastardly Kyrie Irving. What is even going on?
Can we play Memphis every night?
Who knows when Dallas will win a game again, but this was damn fun. Hope you enjoyed it. Savor the win.