Felton leads Mavericks over Nuggets in OT
(The Sports Xchange) - Mavericks backup guard Raymond Felton took charge of a game filled with wild scoring swings to save Dallas from a near-disastrous loss, leading it to a 122-116 overtime victory against the Denver Nuggets on Friday night at American Airlines Center.
Felton scored 10 of his 16 points on the final possession of the fourth quarter and overtime. Dallas trailed by 23 points in the second quarter, took the lead in the third only to fall behind by 14 points with more than eight minutes to go in the fourth quarter and they trailed by nine points with less than two minutes left in regulation.
Felton tied it 108-108 with 10.5 seconds left in regulation when drove a wide-open lane for a layup as Denver's defense keyed on Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki, and nobody bothered to stick with Felton.
Still, Denver had plenty of time to get a good look coming out of the timeout, but forward Will Barton, who led Denver with 22 points despite poor shooting, went one-on-one against Felton, took the possession deep into the clock and then front-rimmed a long jumper. The isolation sequence infuriated Nuggets coach Mike Malone and sent the game into overtime.
"You're on the road, hostile environment--you need to have poise, you need to slow down, execute the play," Malone said. "What happens sometimes in those situations (is that) I think it's really important that you trust each other, and I think a lot of our guys think they need to make the play. And their heart's in the right place, but that's when we need to trust each other on both ends of the floor."
Felton, who Dallas coach Rick Carlisle inserted into the starting lineup to open the second half for a small-ball look, then scored eight of Dallas' 13 points and grabbed a key defensive rebound as the veteran Mavericks (31-28) pulled a game it simply could not lose to the lottery-bound Nuggets as the race at the bottom of the Western Conference playoff chase tightens.
"I just had the will to not lose," Felton said. "We needed this win and wanted to win. I was taking what the defense was giving me. With a great guy like Dirk and being able to come off the screen with everyone worried about him, it makes it so much easier for me to get in the lane. I just tried to get in there and do a good job of finishing and finding somebody."
NUGGETS BLOW IT Continued...