DALLAS — Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki scored half of his game-high 30 points in the fourth quarter and overtime, and center Tyson Chandler was relentless against his former team with 25 rebounds and 17 points to slip Dallas past the shorthanded, but hustling New York Knicks, 109-102, at American Airlines Center.
Nowitzki’s free-throw line jumper with 43.5 seconds to go in overtime sealed a sloppy victory and kept Dallas from its first three-game slide of the season. It wasn’t easy. The Mavs won despite shooting 42.4 percent from the floor — and below 40 percent for much of the game — and they went an almost unfathomable 4-of-31 from beyond the arc on a night when the scrambling Knicks played without injured star and leading scorer Carmelo Anthony, who is dealing with back spasms.
Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said Chandler, who secured season highs in points and rebounds, was ready to face the Knicks.
“To be honest,” Chandler said, “it’s been more important that after the last couple of games that we just get a win. Coming out of the last two games, tonight was really special because I just wanted to get back on and get us a win.”
The reeling Knicks, now 4-11, got careless in crunch time, throwing it away on three consecutive possessions after Chandler threw down an alley-oop dunk off a fortuitous loose-ball situation for a 101-99 lead with 1:37 left in OT.
“We made some mistakes down the stretch (that) you can’t make on
the road in particular,” Knicks coach Derek Fisher said. “We turned the basketball over 20-plus times.”
The Knicks, who had 22 turnovers that led to 29 Dallas points, nearly stole this one as guards Jose Calderon and Pablo Prigioni put on a shooting clinic, combining to make 11 of 14 shots from beyond the arc. Calderon, making his first return to Dallas after being traded to the Knicks in the Chandler deal over the summer, registered a rare double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds. He also had four assists. He knocked down 7 of 9 from 3-point range.
Knicks guard J.R. Smith, who started in place of Anthony and struggled with his accuracy, managed to swish a difficult jumper, dribbling and then rising over the long arms of Dallas defender Al-Farouq Aminu to tie it at 95-95 with 0.9 seconds left in regulation.
Dallas’ alley-oop attempt to Chandler coming out of a timeout failed to materialize and the desperate-for-a-win Knicks sent it to overtime.
The Mavs’ high-octane offense was again out of sync most of the night. In the last three games, Dallas is an atrocious 18 of 90 from deep. They were in severe jeopardy of losing a third straight game to a shorthanded opponent. Houston without Dwight Howard beat Dallas on Saturday and Indiana, missing all five starters from last year’s Eastern Conference finals team, got past the Mavs on their home floor on Monday.
The Knicks jumped out to a 20-10 lead and led for nearly the entire first half on the strength of four 3-pointers from Calderon.
But New York, shooting just 38 percent overall in the first half, struggled to close out the second quarter as Dallas used an 8-2 run in the final 2:57 to take a 46-42 lead into halftime.
Dallas couldn’t sustain the momentum, opening the third quarter 2 of 12 from the field and the Knicks surged back in front, 77-71, with a 14-2 spurt that started at the 2:57 mark of the third quarter and bled three minutes deep into the fourth quarter.
From there, the teams swapped runs, 10-0 by the Mavs on six consecutive points from the previously struggling guard Monta Ellis for an 88-83 lead, and then 6-0 by the Knicks to reclaim the lead, 89-88, with 1:58 to go.
Nowitzki scored 24 of his season-high 30 points in the second half with 11 coming in the fourth quarter, taking advantage time and again of the shorter Knicks forward Quincy Acy.
“Vintage. Vintage Nowitzki,” Carlisle said. “He was struggling from 3 as well, but it was his will that kind of carried us. Monta Ellis got going in the fourth quarter during a period where we really needed it. He was the one that got us back above water and we got a little bit of a lead, but New York kept coming back. We’re fortunate to win, but I thought we fought hard and deserved to win.”
Only two other Mavs reached double-digit scoring. Forward Chandler Parsons had 13 points on 4-of-14 shooting and just 1-of-8 from 3-point range. Guard J.J. Barea had 10 points.
Smith finished with 15 points for New York, but went 7 of 20 from the floor and was 1 of 8 on 3s. Former Mavs center Samuel Dalembert did his best to match Chandler with 13 points and 13 rebounds. Prigioni finished with 12 points.