DALLAS — The Golden State Warriors are playing the stretch run short-handed, but they are showing just how strong they are. They rallied in regulation and then in overtime to take down the Dallas Mavericks in a crucial game in the Western Conference playoff picture.
With 13 seconds left in overtime and the score tied at 120, Warriors center Jermaine O’Neal, already having a huge game with 20 points, blocked Mavs guard Monta Ellis’ runner on the baseline and Golden State guard Stephen Curry won it with a long contested jumper with 0.1 of a second on the clock for a 122-120 victory Tuesday at the American Airlines Center.
The Mavs were stunned that O’Neal’s block was not whistled for a goaltending and it left Dallas owner Mark Cuban howling at the referees after the game.
“Great win, absolutely incredible win for us,” Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. “Things going against us, they were making shots, making plays and they had all the momentum. It’s a tied-together team and I don’t think you need more evidence. This is a big-time win and guys really stepped up and made plays.”
For the Mavs, the end of their eight-game homestand came in heartbreaking fashion. They finished it with just a 4-4 record and lost for the third time in overtime. Four of the eight games went to overtime and all four losses came down to the wire.
“It’s disappointing,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. “We’ve got to get ready for the next game now. I’m not big on analyzing how disappointing it is, I know how disappointing it is. We didn’t deserve to win tonight. You’ve got to make the right plays at the right times and we did not do that.”
The difference between winning and losing is razor thin for both clubs. The Warriors are desperately trying to hold onto the No. 6 seed.
Had Dallas won, they would have moved within one-half game of Golden State. Instead, they fell to ninth place, a half-game behind Memphis and Phoenix.
The Warriors had a golden chance to end it in regulation, but reserve forward Marreese Speights missed a wide-open dunk for the lead with 28.9 seconds to go. Golden State retained possession and then Curry missed a potential winning 3-pointer with 1.7 seconds left in regulation.
Dallas called timeout, but its last-gasp play never got off the ground when Ellis could not handle the inbounds pass.
Mavs forward Dirk Nowitzki, who had a huge game with 33 points and 11 rebounds, put the Mavs ahead 106-102 with 1:23 left. But clutch 3-pointers by forward Andre Iguodala and guard Klay Thompson quickly erased the lead.
“Heartbreaker,” Nowitzki said. “We let chances get away. We were up four and all we needed was one more stop, one more rebound.”
Curry started slowly but ended up with 23 points on 10-for-17 shooting from the field. It was the second time this season that he beat Dallas with a last-second winner.
“After J.O. (O’Neal) got the block, we knew we would get the last shot so I wanted to make sure that we did,” Curry said. “It was kind of a weird play; I thought they were going to trap at halfcourt and I was able to get around it. Then, you look up and you have five seconds to try and figure out how to get a clean shot off.”
Somehow he did.
Thompson led the Warriors with 27 points. O’Neal had 10 of his 20 points in the third quarter when the Warriors overcame a 62-53 halftime deficit to lead 85-81. Iguodala had 16 points on 7-for-9 shooting.
Ellis finished with 27 points and center Brandan Wright had 14 for Dallas.
The game had a couple wild swings early with Golden State striking first and staking a 30-19 lead late in the first quarter. Then it was Dallas’ turn to make a move. Nowitzki scored 16 points in the second quarter and the Mavs ran up a 41-point quarter for a 62-53 halftime lead.
But that quickly evaporated in the opening minutes of the third quarter with the Warriors opening with an 8-1 spurt. From there, it was back and forth action with teams understanding the desperation of the moment.
NOTES: Warriors C Andrew Bogut (pelvis/groin contusion) did not make the two-game trip through Texas. Bogut averages 14.7 ppg against the Mavericks, his highest against any single opponent. Jermaine O’Neal again started in place of Bogut. … F David Lee (strained right hamstring) is with the team but did not play for a third consecutive game. Coach Mark Jackson was unsure if Lee will be available for Wednesday’s game at San Antonio, saying he preferred to take a cautious approach. Draymond Green replaced Lee instead of Marreese Speights. … After wrapping up a franchise-long eight-game homestand, Dallas hits the road for four games at the Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Sacramento and Utah.
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