In a game that included so many crazy twists and turns, the Dallas Mavericks turned in key plays at critical moments Tuesday night.
With Monta Ellis scoring a season-high 38 points and Dirk Nowitzki shaking off an aching back, the Mavs rallied and defeated the Chicago Bulls 132-129 in double overtime at the United Center.
The wild win improved the Mavs to 14-5 on the season and a perfect 3-0 on this four-game road trip that ends tonight in Milwaukee.
A perfect road trip would not have been possible if not for the heroic play of Ellis, who finished the night 16 of 35 from the field. With the shot clock about to expire, Ellis drilled a dramatic 3-pointer with 39 seconds remaining in the second overtime to give the Mavs a 130-129 lead.
Chandler Parsons’ two free throws with 8.7 seconds left widened the lead to 132-129, and Derrick Rose’s 3-pointer with 0.1 second to go hit nothing but net but didn’t go through the rim.
“Monta was making big, big, big shots when they counted,” owner Mark Cuban said. “It was a crazy game. Everybody thought they had it won and then it’s on the left [side of the win-loss column] for us. It was great. They gave the fans their money’s worth.”
Ellis sent the game into overtime tied at 108 when he drained three free throws with 1.2 seconds left. With the Bulls up by three, Kirk Hinrich tried to wrap up Ellis before he could get off a 3-pointer, but he was able to successfully negotiate the play.
“One of the hardest plays in basketball is to stand up there and make three consecutive free throws with basically the game on the line with little or no time left,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “He stayed in his routine and just trusted it, and he just banged each one of those free throws in.”
Later on when the Mavs thought they had the game in the bag, Rose banged in a 3-pointer at the buzzer to send the game into a second overtime.
“We fought and it wasn’t like it was easy,” Cuban said. “They bank in a 3 to take it to another overtime, we give up a lead and they go ahead and we came back.”
Dirk Nowitzki, back in the lineup after sitting out Saturday’s game in Philadelphia to get some much-needed rest, struggled and made just 8 of 22 shots. However, Nowitzki made several crucial baskets down the stretch and wound up with 22 points, seven rebounds and a season-high 10 assists.
“[Nowitzki] got bumped a little in the first half and his back was bothering him,” Carlisle said. “He was able to shake that off and get back in there.”
A 14-0 run, spearheaded by consecutive 3-pointers from Devin Harris (20 points), helped stake the Mavs to a 42-30 lead in the second quarter. Dallas still led by 10 early in the fourth quarter, but squandered it away before rallying at the end.