No Dirk Nowitzki? No problem.
The Dallas Mavericks erased a 10 point deficit with less than six minutes remaining to force overtime and eventually got the win 106-94 on Wednesday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Mavericks (25-19) outscored the Timberwolves (13-31) 17-5 in the final five minutes, led by forward Chandler Parsons, who had a season high 30 points and eight rebounds.
“With Dirk and Raymond out, those are guys that provide a lot of offense for us,” Parsons said. “I knew I had to be aggressive and take shots. Not bad shots, but I got involved from the get go and my teammates did a great job of finding me open looks.”
The win was Dallas’ 1oth this season when trailing by double digits and its fourth consecutive home overtime game. The Mavericks went 3-1 during that stretch, with its only loss coming to the Cleveland Cavaliers last week. Dallas is now 5-1 in overtime this season.
“We have experience, and I think we have a group with a strong collective will,” head coach Rick Carlisle said. “Our guys are really into winning and we’ve had some good fortune. We’ve made some timely stops and hit some timely shots.”
The road to victory on this night, however, was not an easy one.
The Mavericks trailed for the majority of the second half and were pummeled inside by Minnesota forward Karl-Anthony Towns, who finished the game with 27 points and 17 rebounds. In fact, Dallas’ biggest lead came with just under four minutes to go in overtime when it went up by four.
Center Zaza Pachulia got on the board early with four quick points, including an easy layup inside off a nice find from point guard Deron Williams. This cut the Minnesota lead to 11-10 and and forced a Timberwolves timeout. Minnesota guard Andrew Wiggins owned the first quarter, posting 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting in the first 12 minutes alone.
The Mavericks continued to stumble out of the gate, and entered the second quarter trailing 33 to 23. Dallas shot a season-low 8.3 percent from beyond the arc in the first half, but managed a late run, aided primarily by Williams and Parsons. The result was a tie game entering the locker room at halftime, with both teams knotted up at 49.
But in Nowitzki’s absence the offense was stagnant and often lacked floor spacing, as the Mavericks shot a woeful 2-of-16 from three point land going into the fourth quarter. Dallas also shot only 23 percent from the field in the third quarter, struggling to find the range from any spot on the court.
The fourth quarter looked as though it would be much of the same, with the Mavericks missing shots left and right before eventually going on a late run fueled by Parsons and guard Wesley Matthews, who made several key plays down the stretch including an and-one reverse layup to bring the game to within two points.
“We have a lot of guys that can play,” Matthews said. “Guys have to step their games up. They have to just do what they do a little harder and a little better. Hopefully we can stop [going into overtime.]”
Nowitzki missed the game after injuring his knee in the team’s overtime victory against Boston on Monday night. After the game Carlisle said he is hopeful Nowitzki can play Friday against Oklahoma City, and Nowitzki said the injury caught him a little off guard.
“It was strange,” Nowitzki said. “I went home, went to bed and when I woke up the next morning, I was stiff and had some swelling in the knee. I can’t recall anything happening that game but it must have.”