Dirk Nowitzki scored a season-high 33 points, including the first 8 in overtime, and the Mavericks beat one of the top four teams in the Western Conference for the first time this season with a 109-102 victory against the Los Angeles Clippers Tuesday night at Dallas.
Chris Paul also had a season-high 33 for the Clippers, who lost the opener of a four-game road trip that makes three stops in Texas.
The Mavericks improved to 1-11 against the top four teams in the West and pulled within a game of the Lakers for the final playoff spot.
Nowitzki put Dallas ahead for good at 101-100 on a jumper, and the Clippers went four minutes without a field goal in overtime. Matt Barnes shot an air ball on a wide-open 3-pointer with the Mavericks leading 103-100 in the final 30 seconds.
The game went to overtime after a wild final five seconds in regulation starting with a go-ahead layup by Paul. O.J. Mayo answered when he slipped the ball in from behind the backboard to tie the score at 97-all with 0.6 seconds left.
With coach Vinny Del Negro signaling for a timeout, the Clippers threw it in anyway. Blake Griffin caught the ball in the lane and flipped it in the basket in one motion, but was called for an offensive foul for pushing Nowitzki before the ball arrived. Dallas got the ball back but was 70 feet from the basket and couldn’t get a shot off.
Timberwolves 105, Pistons 82 — Nikola Pekovic had 18 points and 11 rebounds to lead Minnesota at Auburn Hills, Mich.
The game matched one of the league’s worst home teams against one of the worst on the road. The Pistons haven’t won at home since before the All-Star break, losing seven straight, while Minnesota had lost 10 of its last 11 road games.
Reserve J.J. Barea matched a season-best with 21 points for Minnesota, Luke Ridnour scored 15, and Ricky Rubio added 14 points and nine assists.
Greg Monroe had 11 points and 12 rebounds for Detroit, and point guard Jose Calderon scored 14 points but only had one assist. Monroe and Calderon were the only Pistons to reach double figures until Khris Middleton got to 10 with an uncontested dunk in the final 20 seconds.
The Timberwolves, who rank 30th in the league in 3-point percentage, hit five of six 3-pointers early in the third quarter to take a 13-point lead. Minnesota kept rolling throughout the period, outscoring Detroit, 38-16, in the quarter to build an 82-54 lead.
Another small Palace crowd showered the Pistons with boos as the game got more and more out of hand. The only cheer came when the mascot hit a half-court shot during a timeout, but the applause ended when Minnesota scored another easy basket.