Paul Pierce

The Brooklyn Nets weren’t having the best of games on the road against the Dallas Mavericks, but excellent performances from Joe Johnson and Marcus Thornton helped them overcome a great day for Monta Ellis, coming away with the 107-104 win in overtime.

Johnson finished with 22 points, scoring 10 of them in the final eight minutes of the game including overtime. Thornton scored 20 off the bench, doing most of his damage at the beginning of the second and fourth quarters, every time killing some sort of momentum building for the Mavs.

Both teams lost key players early on. Jose Calderon was hit in the face after just one minute of basketball and had to leave for the rest of the game, which meant a bit too many minutes Shane Larkin, who did a very bad job backing up Devin Harris. The Nets had Andrei Kirilenko leaving the game early with what seems to be an ankle sprain, although he did have about 7 minutes to contribute before leaving the game.

It was a bad game for Dirk Nowitzki, scoring only 10 points on 2-of-12 from the field. Monta Ellis led the Mavs with 32 points, but overall Dallas were very bad from the field, hitting only 38.5% of their shots, as both Devin Harris and Vince Carter seemed to be trying a bit too hard to score on their own, combining to shoot 8-of-28 from the field. Samuel Dalembert had one of his best games this season, scoring 12 points to go with 15 rebounds and 7 blocks, but the Mavs simply lost too many momentum each time their bench unit was on the floor.

The Nets got 15 points out of both Deron Williams and Paul Pierce, although not at the best of shooting percentages. Despite the usually weak defense the Mavs have to offer, this was one of those games in which the Nets rely too much on jump shots instead of doing a bit of thinking and clever passing. All ended well eventually, but if not for a bad game for Nowitzki and Carter, it might have ended with a loss.

It was Jason Kidd’s comeback game to Dallas as a head coach. A team he started his career with in the mid 90’s before doing something of a round trip in the NBA before returning once more, eventually winning the NBA championship in 2011. It’s been quite the trip for Kidd this season – a woeful start which had many question his credentials and chances of becoming an NBA head coach, and the big turnaround in 2014. It’s not all him, but he has a part in this group suddenly changing from a bunch of grumpy old men into a team that makes life very difficult for anyone they face.

The Mavs find themselves in something of a bind after this loss. Not just the teams they have to face (Thunder, Clippers) next, but also their situation in the playoff race: 8th in the West with a 42-29 record, 0.5 games above the Phoenix Suns who are 9th at the moment at 41-29, and tied with the Memphis Grizzlies who are at 41-28.

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