Despite trailing by as much as 17 points in the first half on Friday night against the Milwaukee Bucks, the Dallas Mavericks clawed back into the game and took the lead with under 30 seconds to play.
But an errant pass from forward Dirk Nowitzki led to a fast break layup by Milwaukee (15-23) forward Khris Middleton which would prove to be the difference, as Dallas (21-16) fell 96-95. A victory would have secured the Mavericks’ ninth win of the season when trailing by 10 points or more, a statistic that currently leads the NBA.
The first half was a struggle for Dallas, as the Mavericks shot just 31 percent from the field. Nowitzki, Chandler Parsons and Wesley Matthews were a combined 3 of 19 from the field in the first two quarters, but managed to turn it around by night’s end, with the exception of Parsons. He finished the game a dismal 1 of 8 from the field with three points.
Dallas shot 44 three pointers in the game, a season high and second most in the NBA this season to only the Houston Rockets.
“It’s the nature of the game,” head coach Rick Carlisle said. “There was a lot of double-teaming and multiple possession attempts. I can’t control how many threes we take. We try to get good looks. And honestly, the threes probably kept us in the game.”
Guard Devin Harris continued to have the hot hand for Dallas and scored 19 points on 7 of 12 shooting while dishing out three assists.
The Mavericks were outscored 55 to 39 in the first half, but a strong third quarter got them back in the game. Nowitzki led the charge once again and was a key reason Dallas was able to start the second half on a 12-2 run. This eventually propelled the Mavericks to outscore Milwaukee 36 to 24 in the third quarter and have a chance going into the final frame.
The teams see-sawed back and forth in the fourth quarter until Dallas finally took the lead on a pair of free throws by Nowitzki. After the turnover by Nowitzki, the Mavericks had one final chance to win the game, but guard Deron Williams’ shot clanked off the back iron and sent the Bucks home victorious. Had he made the shot, it would have been the second time in three games Williams had won it on a buzzer beater.
“The early turnovers were our undoing in the game,” Carlisle said. “I loved our second half. I loved the way we battled and how we were committed. And we almost found a way to win it.”
Next Up: Dallas travels to Minnesota to take on the Timberwolves on Sunday Jan. 10. Tipoff is set for 4:00 p.m. CST.
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