By Art Garcia, The Sports Xchange
DALLAS — The Dallas Mavericks could have easily quit when down 21 points Thursday night.
They didn’t. And for good reason.
“We are just a resilient group,” Mavericks forward Harrison Barnes said. “We are going to keep playing hard every single game. We’ve put ourselves in tough situations, some of which we’ve battled out of and some which we haven’t. But this is a great victory for us.”
Dallas rallied from certain defeat to stun the Utah Jazz 112-105 in overtime at American Airlines Center.
The Mavericks (21-32) snapped a two-game losing streak and avoided getting swept by Utah in the season series for the first time since Dirk Nowitzki was a rookie. Nowitzki’s jumper with 2.8 seconds left in regulation sent the game to OT.
The list of big contributors for Dallas was long. Barnes scored a team-high 31, including eight in overtime, and Nowitzki had 20 points and seven rebounds. Seth Curry had 16 points, including a personal 5-0 spurt that tied the game 96-96 with 59.2 seconds left.
Wesley Matthews added 15 points for Dallas, and Devin Harris scored 13 off the bench, including the first four of overtime to put the Mavs up 104-100. Dallas never trailed in the extra session.
“It was a very difficult game,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. “NBA games, on average, are two hours, 16 minutes and 59 seconds. Playing these guys is like a two-hour, 16-minutes, 59-second dental appointment; it’s a grind.
“You try to speed the game up, but it’s just very difficult because they’re so disciplined and they’re good. The fact that they were back-to-back, I think, was a factor down the stretch in the fourth. Obviously, our guys did some great things execution-wise to get it to overtime — hats off to them.”
Utah (34-20) not only had a four-game winning streak end, but it didn’t take advantage of a season-high, 36-point outing from Gordon Hayward. The first-time All-Star had a chance to win the game at the end of regulation but missed a 3-point try from the corner.
The Jazz, without George Hill, knocked down 13 3-pointers but went cold from outside down the stretch. Utah, which won the first three games in the season series, last swept Dallas in 1998-99.
Joe Ingles hit four 3-pointers and scored 16 for the Jazz, 14 coming in the first half. Rudy Gobert pulled down 15 rebounds and scored 15 for his 36th double-double before fouling out in regulation.
Utah blew out New Orleans by 33 points on the road Wednesday night. Another rout seemed certain against the Mavs.
“I thought we looked really good at times tonight,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “We let up mentally, and Dallas raised their level. I mean, give them credit. They got more physical, both offensively and defensively, and started attacking us on offense and they were physical on defense and we turned the ball over, so it’s not a disappointing game because we had a win streak.
“It’s always disappointing when you lose. They’re a good team, and they made plays. We had our opportunities, and we weren’t able to close the game.”
Utah’s lead reached 21 twice in the third quarter, the last at 71-50 midway through the period. The Mavs began to chip away and finally tied it on Curry’s driving layup with about a minute left in the fourth.
Ingles followed with a miss, but Gobert snatched the air ball and dunked it with 39 seconds remaining. Joe Johnson made a steal on Dallas’ ensuing possession leading to another slam from Gobert.
Dallas had one last shot down 100-98 with the ball and 15 seconds left. Barnes missed a step-back jumper, but Nowitzki grabbed the long rebound and swished a jumper from the elbow.
“We got up 20 points and we kind of relaxed, and then they got it going and it was a different game,” Gobert said.
The Mavs play the third in a four-game homestand Saturday against the Orlando Magic. Utah begins a three-game home set Saturday against the Boston Celtics.