The Dallas Mavericks used scrappy defense and clutch shooting down the stretch to come back and beat the Portland Trailblazers 111-101 in overtime.

With the rare win over a Western Conference playoff contender, the Mavericks (35-18) pulled percentage points ahead of Portland (34-17) for fourth place.

Earning that win is one of the best wins we have had in the seven years I have been here,” said Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle.  “Now we need to take some strength from this and build on it. We cannot suffer a letdown when Clippers come into town on Monday.”

For the first three-quarters of the game, the Mavericks’ season theme of not rebounding, giving up 3-point shots and turning the ball over while making things difficult for themselves on offense was on full display.

After watching Portland’s Wesley Matthews drain a 24-foot three pointer to make it  86-70 and give them their biggest lead of the game, many in the American Airlines Center began mentally chalking this one up in the loss column for the home team.

Fortunately for Dallas, Portland couldn’t quite put them away. The Blazers turned the ball over nine times in the period which turned into eight critical points and gave the Mavericks a chance to steal a game they didn’t seem to want.

Dallas closed the fourth quarter on a 13-2 run, capped off by a Dirk Nowitzki 3-point basket with 20.9 seconds left to tie the game and force overtime.

Mavs. vs. Blazers 2

“It didn’t look good there for a while with them up by 10 and only a couple of minutes left,” Nowitzki said. “I just slipped out and had a little daylight and was able to make a big shot. I like our defensive intensity in the fourth quarter along with our ability to make big timely shots. Our defense definitely won us the game due to us contesting shots and forcing them into tough shots and was pretty solid all night long.”

Nowitzki would go 5-of-8 in the fourth quarter for 11 points to help get the Mavs into overtime while setting the stage for Chandler Parsons to carry them to the finish line.

In overtime, Parsons would score 10 of his 20 points while scoring or assisting on 5 of the first 7 points to give the Mavericks a lead they would never relinquish. He would go 3-of-3 from the field to single handily outscore the Trailblazers 10 to 5.

“It just kind of happened,” Parsons said of his overtime outburst. “I got to the foul line pretty easy, and then I hit a shot. I saw they were switching [Damian] Lillard onto me. I just tried to make plays. I had struggled all game long, so I needed to help our team. This was a big win for us.”

By pulling off a big character comeback win, Dallas avoids losing for the 12th time in 14 games against teams currently in the West playoff picture. With two home games this week before the All-Star break, the Mavericks now have a golden opportunity to head into the second-half of action with a ton of momentum.

“The key thing in sports is to keep fighting, stay persistent and keep believing in each other. That’s what our guys did tonight.” Carlisle said.