If this franchise record eight-game homestand is any indication, the Dallas Mavericks might have to back-door their way into the playoffs.
That’s how tough things have gotten for the Mavs.
With yet another overtime game hanging in the balance Tuesday night, the Mavs blew another golden opportunity to move up the Western Conference standings and wound up losing to the Golden State Warriors 122-120 in overtime at American Airlines Center.
The loss dropped the Mavs to 44-31, while the Warriors improved their record to 46-28.
Stephen Curry buried the game-winning shot on a 21-footer in the face of Jose Calderon with just 0.1 second left. Curry’s basket came after the Mavs thought Jermaine O’Neal should have been whistled for goaltending on a driving shot by Monta Ellis.
O’Neal caught Ellis’ shot in midair with 13.9 seconds left, and the Warriors quickly got the ball to Ellis, who worked it down for the dagger that left the Mavs 4-4 on the homestand.
“He held it and basically got the last shot and it was a great play,” coach Rick Carlisle said of Curry, who scored 23 points. “We had a chance to double-team him.
“It would have been good to get the ball out of his hands. Jose was in pretty good position. He just made a good shot.”
Curry’s game-winner gave the Warriors the season series over the Mavs, 3-1, in case a tiebreaker comes into playwhen the season ends in two weeks.
Meanwhile, the Mavs were lamenting the fact that they led by 11 points late in the second quarter, and by four points late in overtime, but couldn’t close the deal.
“We were up four two or three times at the end of the prescribed time of either regulation or overtime, and it happened multiple times during this stretch at home,” Carlisle said. “We made poor decisions.
“We haven’t done what we need to do to get stops, so we’re paying the price.”
Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavs with 33 points, 11 rebounds and a season-high tying six 3-pointers, while Ellis added 27 points and six assists. But it wasn’t enough as the Mavs gave up a whopping 62 points in the paint to a team that was without its best two interior players — the injured Andrew Bogut and David Lee.
Mavs center Samuel Dalembert started the game, but played only seven minutes with Brandan Wright and DeJuan Blair logging the primary minutes in the middle.
Dallas shot 49 percent from the field and committed only nine turnovers, but allowed the Warriors to convert 15-of-31 shots from 3-point range. That included too many wide open 3-pointers, and too many uncontested dunks.
“We didn’t deserve to win tonight,” Carlisle said. “You got to make the right plays at the right time, and we did not do that.
“We made some terrible mistakes defensively. Leaving [Klay] Thompson wide open in front of our bench for a 3 in our zone, and I saw two guys were right there and nobody got close to him, and that can’t happen.”
It did happen, and now the Mavs will pay a steep price as they went 1-3 in overtime games on the home stand. That will undoubtedly be in the back of the Mavs’ minds as they embark on a four-game road trip that starts Thursday in Los Angeles against the Clippers.
“We got to get ready for the next game,” Carlisle said. “I’m not big on analyzing how disappointing it is.
“I know how disappointing it is. It’s on all of us. We all own it. We’ve got seven games left and it’s very unpredictable. We’ve got to keep out wits about us.”