It took an extra five minutes on Wednesday night, but the Dallas Mavericks dug deep and eventually unwrapped an early Christmas present, beating the Brooklyn Nets 119-118 in overtime.
The victory, however, was not the story of the game.
This night belonged to the tall baller from the G, as he is adored by many Mavericks fans. On a pick and roll jumper from the baseline, Dirk Nowitzki scored his 28, 597th point to pass Shaquille O’Neal for sixth on the National Basketball Association All-Time scoring list.
“It was a special moment for me,” Nowitzki said. “I’ve been blessed in this situation and in this organization for a long, long time.”
Despite his vintage 22 point, five rebound performance, it was Dallas guard J.J. Barea who gave the team a lift when it mattered most.
Barea set a new career high in scoring at 32 points while dishing out 11 dimes. He finished with a double-double. Head coach Rick Carlisle said there was no hesitation with inserting Barea into the starting lineup after starting point guard Deron Williams was ruled out with a strained hamstring.
“Barea is a big moment guy,” Carlisle said. “Every time he is put in this situation he delivers in some form or fashion. He was huge.”
Dallas (16-13) started the game white hot from the floor, including Barea, who made his first seven shots to the tune of a 20 point first half. The Mavericks built a 16 point lead and eventually took a 64-53 lead into halftime.
But the lead was quickly squandered, as the Nets (8-21) doubled Dallas up in the third quarter 34 to 17 to not only erase the deficit, but take the lead for itself into the final quarter.
Unlike last night in Toronto, the Mavericks responded and clawed its way back into the game. With the game coming down to the wire, Dallas had a chance to win it on a Barea isolation, but his shot was blocked and the game went into overtime.
The teams would see-saw back and forth in the extra five minutes until, you guessed it, Nowitzki himself, put the kids to bed with a nifty scoop and score move. Brooklyn had one final chance to win the game as time expired, but guard Jarrett Jack’s shot was too strong and the Mavericks escaped with the win.
Next Up: Dallas gets a few days off for Christmas before playing host to the Chicago Bulls on Saturday Dec. 26. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m. CST.
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