The Mavericks came out on fire, yet got stale and stiff the rest of the way. The momentum of beating the Lakers never boarded the flight to Atlanta.
The young Hawks team ran, shot, and hustled their way in the second, third, and half of the fourth quarters, after the Mavericks ran all over them in the first quarter.
During the win streak, the third quarter is where the Mavericks pulled away. Outscoring their opponents in the third quarter during the win streak, the Mavericks were outscored by 11 in the third quarter.
All signs pointed towards a blow-out win for the Hawks.
Playing without Caron Butler for the second straight game, the Mavericks seemed like they were missing something. That “pep” in their step of late didn’t seem to be there. Sources from Atlanta tell me that Butler did in fact warm up, and they thought that Butler would indeed play. Yet, the decision was made to have him sit another game.
The Mavericks missed Butler’s size against Atlanta.
Passes were sloppy, defense had holes in it, and several Mavericks shots didn’t even touch the rim. The Mavericks seemed stale and stiff.
Down 86-71 midway through the fourth quarter, the Mavericks loosened up and came to life.
Led by the Mavericks heartbeat himself, Jason Kidd, he single-handedly brought the stale, lifeless Mavericks back to life with his energy on both ends of the court. Kidd notched a triple double in the process.
In a shoot-out between the Hawk’s Mike Bibby and Jason Kidd, the highlight though came with a 1:30 left in the game. With Hawk’s coach Mike Woodson a few steps on the court calling out a play, Jason Kidd ran into him as he brought the ball up the court. Words were exchanged between Woodson and Kidd.
Technical foul was issued to Woodson, and a fire was lit in Jason Kidd.
Dirk Nowitzki missed a jumper in the final seconds with the score tied, sending the game to overtime. It was simply incredible that the Mavericks were even able to get the game into overtime.
Overtime was Mavericks time, as they took control and used their experience to find the open shots. An incredible turnaround for a team searching for confidence, as a statement was sent to the rest of the league.
Besides Kidd’s 104th triple double of his career (19 points, 17 assists, 16 rebounds), Dirk Nowitzki had 37 points, including the dagger through the Hawks heart with a 3 pointer with 1:00 left in overtime.
Dallas won at Atlanta, 111-103.