DALLAS — On a night when Dirk Nowitzki turned back the clock for the Dallas Mavericks, C.J. McCollum had the final answer.
McCollum scored 32 points, the last two on a runner from the top of the lane with 0.9 seconds left to give the Portland Trail Blazers a 114-113 win over the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday night.
Nowitzki finished with 25 points that included two clutch 3-pointers, the second a potential game-winner with 3.9 seconds left.
Portland and Dallas – fighting for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference – battled through a tense fourth quarter that saw the teams trade 13-0 runs at one point, then exchange leads six times in the final minute.
McCollum scored Portland’s last seven points. On the final sequence, he took Mason Plumlee’s inbounds pass and split a double-team of Harrison Barnes and Wesley Matthews to break into the clear.
“Once I caught it, I knew I was going to attack right away,” McCollum said. “I tried to split (the double team), and get to the free-throw line and get to my sweet spot.”
McCollum released his runner at the free-throw line and it swished through. Dallas, which was without a time-out, managed only Devin Harris’ long heave from three-quarter court that wasn’t close.
Damian Lillard added 29 points for the Blazers, who tied their season series with the Mavericks at 2-2 — each team winning twice on the others’ home floor.
Barnes led the Mavericks with 26 points and Matthews added 23.
Portland led 101-89 with 7:19 to go before the Mavericks answered the Blazers’ 13-0 run with one of their own. Neither team led by more than two points in the final five minutes.
Nowitzki’s 3 with 38.9 seconds left gave Dallas a 108-107 lead and prompted a fist pump from the veteran, who was coming off four games of below double figures for only the second time since his rookie season.
“The shot-making at the end was just vintage,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “It was breathtaking.”
But McCollum was just getting started. He hit a short jumper, then answered a Devin Harris counter with a three-point play to make it 112-110 with 12.3 seconds to play before Nowitzki hit another long ball.
“You’re just hoping that’s ‘Game’.” said Nowitzki of his last 3. “But three seconds in this league is a long time. I’ve obviously seen a lot of stuff happen. McCollum made a heck of a play.”
Turner breaks hand
Forward Evan Turner suffered a broken right hand in the third quarter after scoring 11 points. He left with 5:08 to play and did not return.
Turner was diagnosed with a broken third metacarpal bone. Neither he nor coach Terry Stotts could gauge how long he would be out, but Turner was told after the game he likely would not need surgery.
“All I saw was I ran into Harrison Barnes,” Turner said. “It didn’t feel like crazy pain, more like numbing a little bit. I just went back out there and I caught the ball. I couldn’t feel any type of grip or anything like that. That was pretty much it.”
With Turner out and Allen Crabbe in foul trouble, it was left to Lillard and McCollum to carry the Blazers’ offense.
“We’ll miss him,” Lillard said of Turner. “I think what he brings to the table is why we signed him. It’s something that it’ll be hard to get from one other person, but it’ll have to be a collective effort from guys having to step up in his shoes.”
During their big 16-2 run in the second quarter, both McCollum and Plumlee scored on alley-oop dunks. McCollum’s came directly off an inbounds pass from the right wing.
After shooting just 4-for-20 for 13 points in the Blazers’ 108-104 loss to the Mavericks on Friday, Lillard scored 22 points in the first half and needed only six shots to make his first four field goals.
After helping the Mavericks to a 4-1 record on a 10-day contract, Ferrell signed his two-year contract Tuesday, calling it “one of the happiest days of my life.” He finished with 12 points against Portland.
Dallas owner Mark Cuban said the team didn’t want to risk having to bid for Ferrell’s services after the contract.