With eight-tenths of a second left on the clock, No. 8 became the hero in double overtime for the Dallas Mavericks.
When it looked like the Mavs were destined for a double OT defeat to the Sacramento Kings, Deron Williams came through and buried a game-winning three-pointer from the corner, swiping a 117-116 victory at the American Airlines Center. D-Will finished with 25 points, and he either scored or assisted on all 13 of Dallas’s points in the second extra session.
After the thrilling conclusion to Tuesday night’s tilt, Deron was just glad the Mavs pulled out the win. Dallas had lost back-to-back games, leaving D-Will happy to have played a big role in a victory.
“This was a great team win for us,” Deron said. “This is not about me. This was a great win. We fought. We hung in there. They had us down and out but we just kept fighting. This was huge for us, just to get this win. We’d let two in a row go and we needed this one in a bad way and I’m happy with this win for sure.”
Deron had been hampered by a hamstring injury and checked out early in his team’s Sunday loss to the New Orleans Pelicans. But he put all injury concerns to rest with his performance. He added two assists, four rebounds and two steals to his 25 points.
His two steals came in the first few minutes. The first of which resulted in a fast break layup for the game’s first points. Deron scored two more points off the drive in the first period, and the Mavs jumped out to a 27-24 lead.
“I’m good. I feel really good,” D-Will said of the hamstring. “No problems, no complications out there tonight, so I feel good.”
The Mavs led by six when Deron checked back in for the second quarter, and he spent the rest of the frame holding off Sacramento’s charge. He rebounded and tipped in his own miss to push the lead to seven with four minutes to go in the period. Then in the final minute and change, he set up Dirk Nowitzki on a mid-range jumper, and he buried a three-pointer of his own on the next possession to make it an eight-point lead. A couple of Quincy Acy free throws for the Kings shortly thereafter made it a 49-43 Dallas lead at the break.
The third quarter was more of the same: The Kings rode DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay to stage a comeback, but the Mavs held them off. Deron and Chandler Parsons buried consecutive threes early in the quarter to make it a game-high 10 points, and Dallas held an eight-point lead at the end of three.
In the fourth, the Kings charged all the way back and tied the game with four minutes to go. It tilted back-and-forth from there and was all knotted up at 96 with 13.9 to go when Deron dropped his first big bucket of the night. D-Will used a pump fake and roasted Darren Collison off the drive. He drove hard through the lane and split Collison and Gay to drop the go-ahead layup with 2.1 left on the clock.
“The guy hit the two biggest shots of the game, one to give us the lead at the end of regulation and then the game-winning shot,” said Dallas head coach Rick Carlisle. “Let’s give the guy some love. These are phenomenal plays. As regular season games go, you’re not going to see many more exciting than this.”
Unfortunately, the Kings provided some of that excitement as well. Cousins came through with a clutch driving layup at the buzzer on the other end, and free basketball ensued.
The Kings took control early in the first overtime. Deron drove around the entire Sacramento defense for two to keep Dallas close midway through the five-minute period, but it came down to Dirk in the end. Nowitzki knocked down a tough mid-range jumper to tie the game at 104, which ultimately led to a second OT.
Both Dallas and Sacramento were constantly cognizant of where the future Hall of Famer was all throughout the closing stages and both overtimes. Deron tipped his cap to Dirk for his play late, and how it ultimately led to D-Will hitting the game-deciding shot.
“One thing about Dirk is you can never count him out,” Deron said. “He can start off 0-for-8 and then heat up. All it takes is for him to see the ball go in one time. He made so many big plays down the stretch and the ones I scored on were because of him, because they don’t want to leave him. So he makes the game so easy for everybody that he plays with.”
Both Deron and Dirk put in some incredible work in the second OT. D-Will started it off with a terrific driving layup past Cousins, and he later dished on a huge trifecta by Raymond Felton. But on the other end, Cousins took control. He had nine points in 2OT, and a three-pointer by Gay dug a massive hole for Dallas, putting the home team down seven with 1:20 to go.
“When you’re down seven with 1:20 to go, you have to pitch a perfect game,” Carlisle said. “The odds are 1-in-100 that you can actually do it, but you’ve gotta have belief and you’ve just gotta keep going and just keep fighting and keep competing… know there were some people that were beating the traffic tonight and they’re going to be disappointed that they did because they missed out.”
Facing that seven-point deficit, Deron took it to the floor. He went around a screen set by Dirk and again went right at Cousins, dropping in a finger roll to cut it to five. On the other end, he put a hand in Collison’s face, forcing an air ball that breathed even more life into the Dallas rally. In transition after that Collison miss, Deron found Dirk, and the Dallas veteran buried a clutch three to make it just a two-point Sacramento lead with 26.3 on the clock.
The Kings drained as much time off the board on their final possession, and more strong defense by Deron kept Dallas alive. He harassed Collison once again, forcing another air ball and a shot clock violation.
Just 2.3 seconds remained on the clock when Carlisle decided to reward D-Will for his strong play throughout the second overtime. He called Deron’s number on the inbound. No. 8 curled around a series of picks, took an inbound pass from Devin Harris, fooled Gay with a pump fake and splashed the corner three as the backboard lit up in red.
“That was the first option,” D-Will explained. “There was a little bit more action after that for Wes to come off and get a three, but Devin made a great read, they kind of slipped out there, got confused and I found myself open. He came flying at me, I just pump-faked and let it go.”
As the ball splashed through the cylinder, Deron fell to the floor, arms outstretched, where the Mavericks dogpiled on their point guard.
“Definitely my first Maverick mob scene,” Deron said. “I was at the very bottom of the pile, all of a sudden it went dark and I couldn’t breathe.”
The Mavs (20-15) will look to build on that big win and also exact some revenge on Wednesday against the New Orleans Pelicans (11-22).
NOLA hasn’t played since beating Dallas over the weekend. This is already the fourth meeting between the two teams this year. The Mavs are currently down 2-1 in the season series and will look to pull off the split in the Crescent City.
Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. CT from Smoothie King Center in New Orleans.