Dennis Smith Jr. drained a step-back jumper and drew a foul for a three-point play with 6.1 seconds left to break a tie and lead the Dallas Mavericks to a wild 140-136 victory in their home opener against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns wanted to go for a game-tying attempt, but was fouled first. He made both free throws to make it 137-136. A quick foul put Smith on the free throw line where he made both attempts for a 139-136 Dallas lead with three seconds to go.
The Wolves’ ensuing full-court pass attempt was broken up and Smith was again fouled. He made one more free throw to put the game on ice and finish with 19 points.
The Mavs, after losing by 21 points at Phoenix in their season opener Wednesday, got 26 points from rookie Luka Doncic, who showed poise down the stretch that included two big baskets late in the fourth. Free-agent acquisition DeAndre Jordan provided 22 points, 10 rebounds and five blocked shots.
While those two newcomers led Dallas’ offensive explosion, it was veterans Wesley Matthews (19 points, three 3-pointers in the fourth quarter) and reserves J.J. Barea (12 points and 11 assists) and Dwight Powell (a hustling 19 points and six rebounds), playing crucial roles in flipping the momentum after Dallas gave up 46 points in the opening quarter and trailed by as many as 15.
The Wolves, playing without the disenchanted Jimmy Butler on the second night of a back-to-back, were led by Towns’ 31 points and a rejuvenated Derrick Rose’s 28.
At one stretch in the third and fourth quarters, Towns and Rose scored 28 of 30 Minnesota points. Jeff Teague scored 22 points but Minnesota was hurt by constant foul trouble to Andrew Wiggins (19 points in just 27 minutes). For Rose, it was his first game with more than 20 points since March 27, 2017.
—Field Level Media