The Net Jersey Nets shot the ball well through the first three quarters of the game against the Dallas Mavericks (26-53, 49%), but would go 6-29 (21%) in the fourth quarter, as a Dirk Nowitzki jump shot got a friendly roll with 6 seconds left to give the Mavericks the win, 87-86, in front of a crowd of 14,051 that included Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov, Kim Kardashian, and Snooki.
The Nets led after the first quarter, 26-22, and would lead by as much as 9, 33-24 on a jumper by Sasha Vujacic, but the Mavericks would come back to take the lead at half time, 48-45. The Mavericks led 82-75 on a tip by center Tyson Chandler, but the Nets would on on a 11-2 run to take a 86-84 lead on a free throw from Devin Harris. The Mavericks would score the last three points of the game for the victory.
When I asked Nets head coach Avery Johnson what happened to the offense in the fourth quarter, he replied “I just thought we started holding the ball. The ball just didn’t move as much and we didn’t penetrate as much. We were inconsistent at times with how we wanted to attack, and part of that also was Brook being on the bench for a while. But Humphries and Petro picked up the slack for us.”
On the game-winning shot by Nowitzki, whom Johnson used to coach in Dallas, he said “Nowitzki’s a tough guard. It seems like all of our guys spent some time on him because we were trying to give him some different looks. We were successful at giving him some different looks. Anytime he goes 7-24 and (Jason) Terry goes 4-14, and you hold them to 34% shooting with 87 points, boy you think you’re going to have a chance to win. Unfortunately, we just couldn’t get that last play executed and came up one-point shy. I’m just proud of our guys. This is three straight games when we’ve played some pretty good basketball.”
The Nets went scoreless on their last two possessions, and the Dallas defense deserves the credit. “We already had it predetermined. We were switching (players) anyway. I was just waiting for him (Harris) to maybe come off and take a quick shot or whatever, and I was going to be right there to contest it. I was right there and he didn’t really have anywhere to go with it” said Mavericks forward Shawn Marion.
The Nets were led by Book Lopez, who scored 24 points, grabbed 6 rebounds, dished out 3 assists and blocked 2 shots. Devin Harris had his sixth double-double of the season with 15 points and 11 assists. Kris Humphries came off the bench to score 8 points and grab a game-high 15 rebounds.
Despite a bad shooting night, Nowitzki scored 23, including the game winner, and pulled down 7 rebounds. Chandler scored 19 points, grabbed 8 rebounds, and had 3 steals, while Terry came off the bench to score 11 points.
The Nets host the Cleveland Cavaliers tonight, who have lost 26 of 27.