Fans at the American Airlines Center are certainly getting their money’s worth these days, and on Wednesday they got to spend some more extra time with Deron Williams and the Dallas Mavericks on their way to another win.
The Mavs gave away free basketball for the fourth straight time at home—an NBA record— in Wednesday’s game, as they came from behind for a 106-94 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves in extra time. After emerging as the hero in an OT win over the Boston Celtics on Monday night, D-Will came through with several crucial plays in the most recent triumph, chipping in 12 points, to go along with seven rebounds and four assists in the victory.
While Mark Cuban’s free basketball promotion has been a hit with the Mavs faithful, it most importantly has brought three wins in four games at home.
“Four consecutive overtime games, from what I’m understanding, had never happened before, so that’s an NBA record,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. “Fifty-three minutes is 53. Whatever it takes. You know, we’ve got to find ways to win games.”
The streak began with a double-overtime victory over the Sacramento Kings on Jan. 5 and continued a week later with an OT defeat to the Cleveland Cavaliers. But after a brief road trip over the weekend, the Mavs returned to their home court, where they have now beaten Boston and Minnesota in consecutive 53-minute games.
Playing so much could have left the shorthanded Mavericks gassed, but despite being without star forward Dirk Nowitzki, who was sidelined with a swollen knee, Dallas battled their way through it. The Mavs put forth a collaborative effort, and Deron was one of six players that scored in double figures, led by Chandler Parsons, who stepped up for 30 points and eight rebounds.
Minnesota’s Rookie of the Year candidate Karl-Anthony Towns paced a pack of Wolves in double figures as well, with 27 points, a career-high 17 rebounds and six blocks. Andrew Wiggins added 23 points and Shabazz Muhammad chipped in with 14 off the bench.
The Mavericks fell behind in the first quarter but managed to knot it at 49 to go into intermission and Deron was a key cog in the rally at the end of the half to get there tied. First No. 8 dished it to Wesley Matthews for three to tie it at 47 with 1:09 left in the second stanza. Towns gave the Timberwolves the lead back with a jumper on the other end, but D-Will stepped back for a jumper of his own to send the Mavs into the second half with a fresh slate.
Deron picked up where he left off in the third, lending a helping hand to Parsons for a pull-up triple to put the Mavs ahead three to start the quarter. But Towns struck again, hitting back-to-back baskets to give the Wolves the lead right back, and they held it for the rest of the frame.
Minnesota built a 10-point advantage in the fourth quarter near the halfway mark before Dallas answered with an 11-2 surge. D-Will capped that run with a steal, and Parsons made it count on the other end with a triple that brought the Mavs within one, 86-85. Matthews followed with a bucket moments later to give the Mavericks a one-point advantage, starting a back and forth fight to the finish.
Deron’s stellar play down the stretch continued about a minute later—after a Towns triple put the Wolves up two. D-Will pulled down a rebound and started the Mavs out in transition, allowing Matthews to drive in and knock down a runner on the other end that deadlocked the score at 89.
“You know, we’re all veterans. We know how to play off each other, and we are continuing to learn every single game and every day how to play off of each other,” Matthews said. “We were able to do that tonight.”
D-Will’s spin-around jumper jumpstarted the Dallas offense in overtime and Parsons took over from there, scoring the next seven points for the Mavericks on their way to outscoring the Wolves 17-5. Dallas shot 75 percent (6-of-8) in overtime, while Minnesota couldn’t seem to find the bottom of the net, shooting just 22 percent (2-of-9).
“I think we made a decision that we were going to have a stronger will not to lose this game,” Parsons said. “We knew they had played (Tuesday) night (and lost in New Orleans), so they were more tired than us. We kept our poise, and we’re definitely a more experienced team, and we got it done.”
Wednesday’s win marked the Mavericks’ fifth straight over the Timberwolves and their second straight on their three-game homestand, which precedes a trip West. The victory was also Dallas’ 25th of the season, in 44 games, and they continue to hold the fifth spots in the Western Conference standings.
Dallas (25-19) concludes their three-game stay at home on Friday when they host the Oklahoma City Thunder (32-12) at the American Airlines Center.
The Mavs will be looking for their first win over the Thunder this year, after falling in the first two meetings of the season between the teams. Oklahoma City rides a six-game winning streak into Friday’s contest, after they defeated the Charlotte Hornets 109-95 on Wednesday in OKC.
It will be a touch challenge for the Mavs, as the Thunder boast two of the game’s top players. Small forward Kevin Durant and point guard Russell Westbrook, both chosen as All-Star starters on Thursday, have teamed up to be the league’s most potent 1-2 punch. Durant ranks third in scoring 26.6 points per game, with Westbrook not far behind in 7th at 24 points per game. Westbrook also ranks second in assists, averaging 9.7 assists per contest, so he’ll be a handful for D-Will and his teammates.
Following Friday’s game, the Mavericks hit the road for a three-game trip with stops in Houston to face the Rockets (22-22), Los Angeles to take on the Lakers (9-35) and Golden State to be tested by the league-leading Warriors (39-4).
But first come the Thunder. Tip-off of the showdown in Big D is slated for 7:30 p.m. CT. and the game can be seen on Fox Sports Southwest.