February 12, 2012

West puts Mavs on back in overtime win vs. Blazers

Dirk's late twisting shot has him looking like his old self.

DALLAS -- That off-season acquisition of Delonte West is looking better and better with each game.

West came off the bench Saturday night to score six straight points in the second overtime to lead the Dallas Mavericks to a hard-fought 97-94 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers before 20,457 at American Airlines Center.

With starting point guard Jason Kidd on a minutes count, the Mavs turned to West for direction, and he stepped up and made big bucket after big bucket.

"He was phenomenal," coach Rick Carlisle said. "The guy stays ready and he's a money player.

"He's had that reputation since he's been in the league, really. We had been battling pretty good, but we needed a lift. J-Kidd was at his minutes ceiling for the night and [West] was the guy."

West said he was spurred on by Lyndon Bay, a teenager with a rare kidney disorder whom West invited to Saturday's game.

"For the last 12 minutes until that overtime, it was hard for me to get loose," West said. "I thought about it -- I had my man Lyndon Bay at the game -- I thought about all the things he's been through and I just drew my strength from him.

"I went out there and played tough, like he would want me to."

After West got the Mavs going, it was Dirk Nowitzki who finished off the Blazers. Going into fellow All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge (33 points, 12 rebounds) of Seagoville, Nowitzki wheeled, dipped and drained a 17-footer over the outstretched arms of Aldridge as the Mavs nudged ahead, 97-93, with 16.5 seconds to go.

"It was a vintage Nowitzki shot," Carlisle said. "Contested, bumped, somehow creates ... high arc and the ball goes in.

"It was really the game-winning shot in a lot of ways, because when it gets to four it just gets a lot tougher on the opposing team."

Portland cut it to three when Wesley Matthews made the first of two free throws. Matthews missed the second charity toss, and Shawn Marion and Gerald Wallace wound up in a jump-ball situation with 10 seconds left.

Wallace won the jump, but Jamal Crawford wound up tossing up a wild 3-pointer at the buzzer with -- who else -- West standing right near his chest.

"The play at the end of the game where [West is] guarding Crawford, he doesn't allow the guy to get a good look at a 3," Carlisle said. "And that's the guy that can throw in some tough 3s, so he was big at both ends."

Nowitzki led the Mavs with 20 points and nine rebounds, Jason Terry tallied 19 points, Marion collected 14 points and 12 rebounds, and Lamar Odom and West each scored 10 points.

"I thought Lamar Odom played one of his best games of the year tonight," Carlisle said. "He had great energy, he was attacking, he was into the game.

"When Dirk had some struggles early in the third, we went to Lamar and he made a couple of big plays, he hit a three. It was stuff that kept us going during a tough spot."

The Mavs used a 16-4 run to take a 34-16 lead early in the second quarter. But the Blazers kept chipping away until they finally caught Dallas at 71-71 on a Raymond Felton 3-pointer with 4:57 left in regulation.

Aldridge tied the game at 81-81 when he rolled in a jumper with 12 seconds left. Nowitzki then missed a jumper at the buzzer, which forced the first overtime.

A missed 3-pointer by Crawford at the buzzer sent the game into the second overtime period.

Kidd played 31 minutes and finished with five points, eight rebounds and eight assists. But he sat the entire second overtime session, and then West took over.

"The first play of overtime [West] comes off and lines up a shot and knocks it in and it just got us going," Carlisle said. "And he did good things defensively."

As far as Kidd goes, Carlisle said: "He felt OK going into the first overtime, so he rolled with it, but then it was time to get him out. And that's why it's good to have a guy like West to come in and make plays at both ends."

Dwain Price, 817-390-7760

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