By Art Garcia, The Sports Xchange
DALLAS — The worst start in Dallas Mavericks is a thing of the past.
“It’s definitely good to get that monkey off our backs,” forward Harrison Barnes said. “It was a total team effort.”
Barnes and J.J. Barea carried the short-handed Mavericks past the Milwaukee Bucks 86-75 in overtime Sunday night at American Airlines Center.
Barnes scored a career-high 34 and Barea added 21, including five points in the extra session. The Mavs (1-5) never previously lost the first five games to open a season.
The Mavericks, playing without Dirk Nowitzki (sore right Achilles tendon) and Deron Williams (left calf strain), got a huge lift from their premier offseason signing and their scrappy veteran guard.
Barnes knocked down 13 of 26 shots and grabbed eight rebounds in 48 minutes. Barea had six boards and five assists in 46 minutes.
“We stuck together today,” Barea said. “We had a great defensive game. Barnes carried us throughout the game, and we had other players, too.”
Andrew Bogut returned from a one-game absence (personal reasons) and pulled down 16 rebounds. Rookie forward Dorian Finney-Smith (five points, three rebounds and three steals) had his first extensive playing time of the season, and the Mavs were a plus-19 during his 32 minutes.
“He just plays hungry,” Barnes said of Finney-Smith. “He went out there and got us big stops and extra possessions with offensive boards.”
Milwaukee (4-3) had its three-game winning streak snapped while playing on the second half of a back-to-back. Jabari Parker led the Bucks with 16 points.
“We just really played bad,” Parker said. “Even in overtime, we only scored one point. We can’t let that happen. We had to get them out of their groove and close it out to seal the deal.”
Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo was in early foul trouble and managed only 11 points to go along with seven rebounds. Greg Monroe had a double-double (14 points and 12 boards) off the bench.
The Bucks were lethargic for much of the second and third quarters, scoring just 29 points, but did hold a 68-62 lead going into the final six minutes. Milwaukee was undone by 27 turnovers, including five in overtime.
“We turned it over three straight times, and if you’re going to win a game on the road in overtime, you can’t turn the ball over,” Milwaukee coach Jason Kidd said.
The Bucks went into the fourth period down 59-56 but opened the quarter with an 8-0 run. Mirza Teletovic hit back-to-back 3-pointers for a 64-59 advantage that forced a Dallas timeout.
Barea tied the game at 72-72 with a driving three-point play with 1:07 remaining. Milwaukee regained the lead on a vicious dunk by Antetokounmpo, but Barnes responded with a driving layup.
Antetokounmpo missed a long step-back jumper at the end of regulation to send the game into OT.
“I had an open look,” he said. “I just have to knock it down and then we win.”
Barnes opened the extra session with a jumper, and Barea followed with a 3-pointer. The Mavs remained in control from there, outscoring the Bucks 12-1 in OT.
“We won a game, and we had to really fight for it,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. “We’ve been fighting in these other games. We’ve just made too many mistakes.”
The Mavericks rallied from an early 13-point deficit to take a 47-39 lead into halftime. Barnes scored 14 in the second quarter, as Dallas outscored the Bucks 28-12.
Milwaukee gets a three-day break before facing the New Orleans Pelicans at home on Thursday. The Mavericks open a four-game road trip Tuesday at the Los Angeles Lakers.