Five minutes before the end of Game 4 of the NBA Western Conference Championship series, it looked like the night was over: the Oklahoma City Thunder led the Dallas Mavericks by 15 points. No team had come back to win a playoff game trailing by so much so late in the game in over a decade.
But the Mavericks managed to pull it off, tying the game and forcing the Thunder into overtime, where they won, 112 to 105. The team's big win was helped by an individual accomplishment: a 40-point game by power forward Dirk Nowitzki. ESPN reports:
The Dallas Mavericks closed regulation on a 17-2 run to force overtime and earn the eventual win.
The Mavericks have won five straight road games (longest postseason road streak since the 2005 Miami Heat) and are one win from their first NBA Finals trip since 2006. The Mavericks became the only team in the last 15 seasons to win a playoff game in which it trailed by 15 or more points with five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
A huge part of the Mavericks' comeback was Dirk Nowitzki, who finished with his second 40-point game this postseason (both this series) and seventh of his career. After shooting 60.0 percent from the field in Game 4, and 80.0 percent in Game 1, the Elias Sports Bureau tells us that Nowitzki is the first player to record two 40-point games and shooting at least 60.0 percent from the floor in the same playoff series since Shaquille O'Neal for the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2000 Finals against the Indiana Pacers.
Read the full story at ESPN.