It was a Dirk-vs.Kobe duel, but big-picture, Sunday at the AAC was more than that: Dallas and LA…
Mavs 104, Hornets 100: Who Gets 'The Dirkie'?
The Dallas Mavericks rode the late-game work of Dirk (25 points on 9-of-15 shooting), Mike James (age 37) and Vince Carter (age 36) to mount a late run to seal a third consecutive win.
There are reasons to desire to see more of a youth movement. It's even good fun to hear Fish on the radio debating the merits "Team Tank'' as the 25-29 Mavs, 4.5 back, don't seem destined for the playoffs. But in the final moments of this one, coach Rick Carlisle used Dirk, James and Vince -- who made a 3 with 6.5 seconds left -- to snatch a win from seemingly nowhere.
"I've taken the game-winning shots a lot of times and missed a lot of them," Carter said. "I've never been afraid to take those shots and live with the consequences."
This was the first road trip in over two weeks; if we had a choice we'd probably pick a different destination. New Orleans' home is just one of those Houses of Horrors for the Mavs. As the fourth quarter unfolded, it looked like business as usual -- for almost six minute the Dallas offense produced one made jumpshot. One might be forgiven for mistaking Ryan Anderson's three at 55 seconds for a killshot and turning the channel.
Thirteen seconds later as the game clock measures time, James hit a three and dragged the game back within reach. One ridiculous clutch three from Vince and two Collison free throws later and there's your win, 104-100.
"The great thing was no one ever wavered or lost belief," Carlisle said. "Sure enough we were really determined and were able to scratch it out. ... "I'm excited about that. We're going to keep our enthusiasm about this and keep battling."
One road Dirkie, on the way! Votes please. Some of the "Dirkie'' candidates:
Dirk Nowitzki -- 25 points, didn't he look like himself?
Vince Carter -- 22 points, another one bites the dust
Elton Brand -- Big Guy In Reserve with 13 and 7
OJ Mayo -- 10 points and 9 assists
Shawn Marion -- 10 points, 3 boards, and 3 blocks
Bernard James -- 4 points and how many blocks?
Darren Collison -- 11 points, 4 boards, and two steals
Mike James -- 5 points includes the bacon-saving 3