The Dallas Mavericks had a chance to pull away from the competition. They had all the opportunity in the world, but didn’t take advantage of it.
Then again, it wasn’t like the Mavs just rolled over and quit, but giving it their all wasn’t quite enough.
Dallas just finished its franchise-record eight-game home stand on April 1 with a heart-breaking overtime loss to the Golden State Warriors, 122-120, when Stephen Curry hit the game-winning jumper with 0.1 seconds left.
The officials missed a goaltending call on Jermaine O’Neal, which would’ve gave the Mavericks the 122-120 lead before Curry’s shot. The NBA came out the next day and announced that the officials did in fact miss the call.
Dallas ended its home stand at a mediocre 4-4 and found itself outside the playoff picture. If the Mavericks defeated the Warriors, they would’ve been a half game back of the 6th seed, but instead lost and in 9th behind Memphis and Phoenix.
Half of those games actually went into overtime, but the Mavs went 1-3 and lost by a combined SIX points.
They fell 123-122 on March 19 to Kevin Love and the T’Wolves and then lost 107-104 on March 23 to the Nets on Jason Kidd’s 41st birthday.
Their only overtime win came on March 25 against NBA scoring leader Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder, which could be a first-round match up.
Durant scored a game-high 43 points, but Dirk Nowitzki led seven players in double figures with 32 points, 10 boards, six dimes and four steals.
The Mavericks entered the fourth down five, and trailed 111-108 after Durant hit a 25-foot 3-pointer with 39 seconds remaining in regulation. Nowitzki tried to tie it up, but Brandan Wright grabbed the offensive rebound and kicked it out to Jose Calderon, who drilled the tying 3-point shot right over Durant 13 seconds later.
Calderon added 22 points and was 6-of-9 from downtown.
As a team, the Mavericks knocked down a season-high 15 3-pointers.
Nowitzki scored seven in the extra frame, including a wide-open 3-pointer to give Dallas an eight-point lead with 57 seconds left to play.
Dallas is fighting for its playoff lives with the Suns and Grizzlies and can still manage to snag the 6th seed away from the Warriors.
Dallas came into its home stand having won four of five, including a 23-point beatdown in Oklahoma City, snapping an 11-game losing streak to the Thunder. Russell Westbrook didn’t play in that meeting on March 16, but did suit up for their last.
The Mavs could’ve distanced themselves if it weren’t for their losses to the T’Wolves and Nets.
Nowitzki scored 27 points, but on 11-of-27 shooting and missed all seven attempts from behind the arc. Shawn Marion led the team with 16 points, 11 rebounds and five assists while Love scored a game-high 35 points, including the game-winning 11-footer with 17 seconds left to play.
Dallas had a five-point lead in overtime after trailing by as much as 22 in the first half.
Nowitzki had one of his worst shooting performance in the Mavs’ loss to the Nets. He scored just 10 points on 2-of-12 shooting and again missed all his attempts from three (3).
Monta Ellis kept the Mavs afloat with 32 points while Samuel Dalembert contributed 12 points, 15 rebounds and seven blocks.
The Mavs led 29-15 after the first quarter and were outscored by seven in the fourth to force overtime.
Joe Johnson hit the game-tying layup with nine seconds left before Ellis’ 3-point try was to no avail.
It was Kidd’s first trip back to Dallas as a coach. Kidd helped Dallas defeat Miami for the 2011 NBA championship.
So it wasn’t like they were blown out in its four losses, but Dallas definitely had a chance and should’ve won all eight.
The Mavericks also lost on March 27 to the Los Angeles Clippers, the third time this season. They held a 10-point lead with under nine to play in the fourth. Dallas has squandered a double-digit-fourth quarter lead in all three losses to LA this season.
Nowitzki and the Mavs have gotten back on track. He did score 33 points and grabbed a double-double in their loss to the Warriors.
Dallas countered its home stand with a four-game road trip, which they’re in the middle of.
The Mavericks finally defeated the Clippers this season after leading by 10 or more in the fourth, but the Mavs made it interesting on April 3.
Dallas led 109-97 with 2:50 remaining, but the Clippers proceeded to score the next 10 points in a span of 1:30 to cut the lead down to two with minutes to spare. The Mavs scored four times from the charity stripe while holding LA scoreless to come away with a 113-107 victory. Nowitzki scored 26 points while Blake Griffin led the Clips with his fourth-career triple-double.
Memphis, Phoenix and the Mavs all have been fighting for the final two spots, but Dallas continues to have sole possession of 7th with five games left in the regular season.
Nowitzki scored a game-high 27 points as the Mavs won their fourth-straight road game, and second in a row at the Staples Center, 107-95 to the depleted Lakers on April 4.
It was the second night of a road back-to-back, as Dallas ends the season at a perfect 6-0 in the category.
Nowitzki is getting help elsewhere.
After his poor performance against the Nets, his mentor, Holger Geschwindner flew into town to help Nowitzki get back on track.
Since then, Dirk is averaging 26.3 points on 56.4 percent shooting and 45.2 percent from three. He’s also averaging 9.5 rebounds, well over his season average of 6.3 a game. He’s recorded three double-doubles, half his season total.
The Mavericks finish their west-coast road trip against the Sacramento Kings on April 6 and the Utah Jazz on April 8. They return home for two against the West-leading Spurs, whom they’re 0-3 against, and the Suns. They’ll end the regular season on April 16 in Memphis, which could decide their playoff fate.
Dallas owns tiebreakers with the Grizzlies, 5th-seeded Portland and the 2nd-seed Thunder, but lost the season series, 3-1, to the Warriors. Against the Suns, each team has won once with the April 12 match up deciding the tiebreaker.
The Mavs are currently a half game ahead of the Grizzlies and Suns for 7th while they’re 1.5 games back of Golden State for 6th.
Aside from all of the playoff talk, Nowitzki has also achieved some individual feats.
Against the Lakers, he passed hall-of-famer Dominique Wilkins for 11th place in career scoring. Nowitzki entered the night needing 18, scored 17 at halftime and passed the Human-Highlight reel at the 8:47 mark in the third with a free throw.
Nowitzki now sits all alone in 11th with 26,678 career points. He’ll need 33 more points before season’s end to pass another hall-of-famer, Oscar Robertson for 10th all time. The Big O is at 26,710.
He’ll have a shot against Kings, where he’s averaging 23.7 points in three games versus Sacramento this season, including a 34-point game back on Jan. 31.
By next season, Nowitzki will likely pass Elvin Hayes and Moses Malone for 7th all time.
Nowitzki also passed former teammate Michael Finley for 23rd in all-time 3-pointers made. He’s sits with 1,461 and 121 on the season. He has a chance at hitting 16th place next year.
All four teams will be action on April 6 with the Grizzlies in San Antonio, Warriors hosting the Jazz and the Suns hosting the Thunder. Portland, who the Mavs are three games back for 5th, is hosting New Orleans.
Nowitzki and Mavericks are looking to return to the postseason after missing out last season, which snapped their 12-straight playoff appearance streak.