These are the kind of games that could seriously come back to haunt the Dallas Mavericks.
Needing just one stop, one basket, or one less mental mistake, the Mavs struck out on all three counts Sunday and gift-wrapped another game to another team that’s bound for the NBA lottery.
The Mavs’ next nine games — starting Monday night in Dallas against the Los Angeles Clippers — are against teams that would be in the playoffs if the postseason started today.
Unable to execute with the game hanging in the balance and with so much at stake, the Mavs suffered a Rocky Mountain low and wound up dropping a 116-114 overtime game to the Denver Nuggets before 14,802 at the Pepsi Center.
The loss, in Dallas’ franchise-tying 11th overtime game of the season, dropped the Mavs to 33-30. And now the competition gets tougher. The Mavs’ next nine games — starting Monday night in Dallas against the Los Angeles Clippers — are against teams that would be in the playoffs if the postseason started today.
If the Mavs want make the playoffs, they know they must learn how to put teams such as the Nuggets away. However, a string of mistakes down the stretch and in overtime undid the Mavs on Sunday just as they did during Thursday’s home loss to the Sacramento Kings.
It was a good play by him. I thought he didn’t have enough time to really pump-fake and try to get up a shot, so my thing was to try to contest it.
Raymond Felton of the Mavericks on the Nuggets’ D.J. Augustin
The final blow came when Raymond Felton fouled D. J. Augustin with 0.9 seconds left in overtime and the game tied at 114-114. Augustin made both free throws, and Dallas product Emmanuel Mudiay blocked Wesley Matthews’ corner 3-point attempt as time expired.
“It was a good play by him,” Felton said of Augustin. “I thought he didn’t have enough time to really pump-fake and try to get up a shot, so my thing was to try to contest it.
“Once he pump-faked and got me in the air, there was nothing I could really do at that point.”
The Mavs appeared to have the game well in hand in regulation. A layup by Deron Williams pushed Dallas ahead 106-102 with 21.1 seconds left.
Even when two free throws by Will Barton got Denver within two points of the Mavs with 7.9 seconds left, Dallas still was in control because it had possession of the ball following its final timeout.
But a wild sequence occurred when Chandler Parsons tried to bounce the inbound pass off the leg of Gary Harris before a 5-second violation was whistled.
Looking back on it I had D-Will for a split-second there really early. But it’s tough when, first of all, you have no timeouts and everyone’s breaking toward their basket.
Chandler Parsons on his wayward inbound pass that helped the Nuggets send the game into overtime
Parsons’ pass ended up in the hands of Mudiay, who passed to a streaking Kenneth Faried for a layup that tied the game at 106-106 with 3.3 seconds left and sent it into overtime.
“Looking back on it I had D-Will for a split-second there really early,” Parsons said. “But it’s tough when, first of all, you have no timeouts and everyone’s breaking toward their basket.
“I didn’t want to risk it and throw it going that way. I obviously tried to throw it off Harris’ leg there and he jumped and moved, but in hindsight I should have just tried to hit somebody earlier and get it in.”
We didn’t execute. With a lead at the end of regulation we just needed to get the ball inbounds to a good free throw shooter and we just weren’t able to do so.
Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle
It was indeed a game of near-misses for the Mavs, who trailed 22-19 after the first quarter and 57-50 at the half.
“We didn’t execute,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “With a lead at the end of regulation we just needed to get the ball inbounds to a good free throw shooter and we just weren’t able to do so.”
The Mavs led 93-85 with 7:59 left after Devin Harris tossed in a 3-pointer. But from there they missed eight straight 3-point attempts and a pair of two-pointers until Williams scored 13 straight points that gave the Mavs that late four-point cushion.
“We are a veteran team and we don’t show it lately down the stretch,” said Dirk Nowitzki, who scored a game-high 30 points. “You see a comeback once in a while, but this is not one time. This is over and over.”
And it could seriously haunt the Mavs.
Clippers at Mavericks
7:30 p.m. Monday, FSSW