Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 1/13/12

To call it a circus shot, is by no means a loose term; if you would have seen the shot that Dirk Nowitzki made with only 5.1 seconds left in the game to give the Dallas Mavericks their 6th win of the season, you would have called it a circus shot as well. Not only that it made the #1 spot on the highlight reel on NBAtv, that’s the kind of shot it was.

Both teams were ready for this game; Dallas coming into Boston after winning the night before in Detroit, and Boston having been off for the last 4 days, it was going to be a question of who wanted it more. From the get go, it appeared as if Dallas wanted the game more because of the lack luster play of the Celtics, but some attributed that to rust needing to get worked out and not an over abundance of rest; and the rust showed real well at times, especially on the turnovers that occurred .

Dallas and Boston both had their fair share of ugly, sometimes ridiculous turnovers, but it was Boston who was capitalizing on the mistakes that Dallas made by converting most of the turnovers that Dallas committed into points, but it was Dallas who capitalized on working cohesive as a team to pull of the victory and get above .500 for the season and send Boston to below .500.

Prior to tonight’s game, the announcers on FoxSports Southwest were talking about all the talent that was on the court for the night, between Dirk, Vince Carter, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce and the comparisons of the two teams. With the absence of Jason Kidd, there were numerous All-Star selections between the two teams, NBA champions on both teams, Finals MVP between the two teams and the above 5 mentioned names are all in the top 35 in NBA scoring. And to top it off, Dirk was only 19 points away from adding to his long list of stats, scoring 23,000 points in NBA history; right now he sits in the 23 spot and by the end of the season, he could be as high as 20. He is also in the top 3 of active players in all time scoring.

The Mavericks were beginning to look again like the team to beat and they proved it last night. Dallas led for the most of the game, but Boston was not going away easy. At times Dallas would get a good lead and then Boston would fight back to get into the mix of things, that was due to the turnovers.

Dallas led at the end of the first quarter 23-15, which was good since they were containing the Celtics big guns from scoring and not to mention that Boston was trying anything to take control of the game.

Doc Rivers was not happy with his team and you could tell it, because in the 2nd quarter things starting turning around and they were finally making shots and getting to the line. During the 2nd quarter, Dallas was up 34-33 with the Celtics again breathing down their neck when JET shot a 3 from near the Mavericks bench and was fouled as the shot was being made. The ball went in, score a 3 plus the and one, the first for the Mavs this season. JET made the free throw, now Dallas had a 38-33 lead; and they carried that lead into halftime, despite Boston scoring 26 points to Dallas’ 19 in the 2nd quarter.

Unfortunately halftime came and going into the 3rd quarter, Dallas hit a cold spell and let the Celtics take the lead and with the score 45-42 in Boston’s favor; at  the 10:38 mark, Dallas had the ball, Dirk was trying to get position on Garnett, while he was getting mugged left and right by Garnett, and the next thing you see is Rick Carlise on the court, past mid-court, screaming at the ref about the continual fouling by Garnett on Dirk. Needless to say, 2 technical fouls came because, well he wouldn’t shut up and he wouldn’t go to his bench without letting  his displeasure be known. Well, then came the 2 free throws by Ray Allen for the 2 techs, which he made, Carlisle was ejected, the crowd went wild thinking this was it; their Celtics were taking control of this game and they were going to pull out the win and not let history repeat itself from last season when Jason Kidd hit a game winning 3 at the end of the game.

Despite the techs on Carlise, and his being ejected, Assistant Coach Terry Stotts took over and so did the Mavericks. They fought back and again took control of the game and ended the 3rd quarter with a 68-59 lead.

Isn’t it amazing when the 4th quarter of a football or basketball game comes around in close games and you can feel the tension on the sidelines, on the court/field and in the stands from the fans? In the games that I have been to and the games were close and it was back and forth and back and forth, until someone makes a mistake and the “good” team takes advantage of it and your team wins. Well this was no different.

At the 6:12 mark of the 4th quarter, Dallas had a 77-75 lead on Boston, when they came and tied the game at 77 up on a lay up from Rajon Rondo. Then Dallas got the ball, hit another bucket for a 79-77 score and then Rondo again from a steal, made another basket to again tie the game at 79 each. Now at the 3:18 mark, Dallas is driving, Dirk has the ball drives into the lane with 2 or 3 defenders packing in on him and he finds JET in the corner, shovels the ball to him for a three, it’s good for a 82-79 lead for Dallas.

Boston takes the ball and is unable to complete a score and Dallas gets the rebound, ball again gets to JET and he makes an open lay up with 3 defenders around the paint, but no one crashing in on him, now Dallas has a 84-79 lead.

Dallas gets a foul and makes one of the free throws and now has a 85-79 lead, then another bucket for Boston with a foul shot and now it’s 85-82 Dallas, when Paul Pierce, at the top of the key was open for a three with 27.4 seconds left in the game and now the score is again tied 85-85.

Stotts calls a time out and you could tell they wanted this game, but just didn’t know how they were going to get it. Well I can tell you how, get the ball to your go to guy, Dirk, and let him do his thing; if it goes in, you win, if not, then overtime.

Dallas takes the ball in bounds, and with 5.1 seconds left, Dirk is driving between Garnett and Brandon Bass, goes up for the shot, actually throws the ball up for a shot, whistle blows for a foul and the next thing you see is the ball coming down and going through the basket, Dallas now has a 87-85 lead and Dirk is being picked up off the court by his team mates with his tongue hanging out in Dirk style and he’s headed to the free throw line for the and 1.

Dirk makes the free throw, Dallas now up 88-85 and Boston calls time out with a little over 4 seconds to play. Boston sets up for the in bounds, but on the throw in, Boston baubles the ball and loses it out-of-bounds, Dallas will get the ball. The ending of a great game with Dallas getting the 90-85 win and history repeated itself.

The Mavericks ended the night shooting 44.3% to Boston’s 45.3, being led by JET with 18 and Dirk with 16, just 3 shy of his 23,000 mark. Shawn Marion added 15 with Delonte West adding 12 and Brendan Haywood had 8 points and 11 rebounds.

The Celtics were led by Rondo with 24 and Garnett added another double-double to his stats with 16 points ant 10 rebounds. Dallas led Boston with 44-30 points in the paint and also out rebounded the Celtics with a 43-35 margin.

Boston out did Dallas by converting 71.9% of their free throws into points compared to Dallas only shooting 56% from the line. Dallas had the edge on three pointers with a 37.5% to 36.4% and both had 17 turnovers.

The case that is made now is, is Dallas a true contender for the title again? In my honest opinion, yes and by listening to the other broadcasters, they can make a run of it if they keep playing as they did here. Granted they were missing Kidd again, but West filled the void fairly well, maybe not as good in some areas, but he can slash inside where Kidd might not be able to do that right now, and that’s the reason they have him and Roddy B.

So congratulations to the Mavericks for getting over that 500 hump and getting the win tonight. Now they go home and get ready for the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday and Sacramento on Saturday before they go on another road trip to Los Angeles.

I bid you a good day and say good luck and let’s go Mavs!

This article first appeared on isportsweb.com and was syndicated with permission.

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