Mavs snap 4-game skid, beat Kings 117-112 in OT
Newspaper and television reporters from Seattle showed up along with an increased local media presence. Fans contemplated whether they should keep supporting a team they love. Ushers and parking attendants who depend on the team for work approached reporters asking if they knew what might happen.
Even players and coaches admitted all the attention made it difficult to focus on the game.
"It's definitely going to be a distraction," Kings coach Keith Smart said before the game. "But we're pros. We've got to figure out a way how to separate the two and then get ready to play."
The crowd remained its usual scattered, and sometimes spirited, self this season.
So did both struggling teams.
Evans ignited Sacramento's stagnant start when he scored the final seven points of a 13-0 spurt, capped with a steal and fast-break layup over Collison for a three-point play that gave the Kings a 42-29 lead late in the second quarter.
Francisco Garcia highlighted another Sacramento surge in the third quarter. He hit two jumpers and a 3-pointer to put the Kings ahead 71-54 to spark the crowd to life.
The Mavericks found their rhythm late.
James stole Cousins' pass for an uncontested layup, Marion added another steal and threw the ball ahead to Mayo for a layup and Carter converted a running layup to cap a 14-3 run that put the Mavericks up 96-93 with less than 2 minutes remaining in the fourth.
Then Cousins missed a difficult shot in the lane, Marion grabbed the rebound and was fouled. After Marion made both free throws to put Dallas ahead by five, John Salmons hit a 3-pointer.
The Kings forced Dirk Nowitzki to miss a contested jumper. Smart decided not to call timeout, and Carter drew a charge on Salmons. Mayo made 1 of 2 free throws to give the Mavericks a 101-98 lead before Thomas hit the tying 3-pointer to force overtime.
"We've been scratching and clawing of late," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said, "so it's good to have something to show for it."
NOTES: The Mavericks improved to 3-7 on the second night of back-to-back games. ... The Kings fell to 10-9 at home. ... Dallas is 6-16 on the road. ... The crowd was announced at 14,011.
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