The loss drops Minnesota to 15-16, as they failed on their sixth attempt in the month of December to regain a winning record. Dallas improves to 18-13, and remains in the eight slot in the Western Conference.
The first half belonged almost entirely to the Mavs. Shawn Marion, who tied his season high in points (21) in that half, got the Mavs out to a big lead early.
"I don't think it was the defense as much as it was just the way we played," Rick Adelman said of the first half. "We didn't play at the energy that we needed to play at. They came out, it was a big game for them; we beat them twice and we knew that. They came prepared. I just didn't like anything about our body language or anything at either end of the court."
The Dallas lead grew to 19 as the half concluded, with a lot going wrong on Minnesota's end.
The turnovers were plentiful in the first half. In Minnesota's win against Washington just three days prior, they committed 4 the entire game. In tonight's game, they committed 13 in the first half alone.
The other glaring first half issue was pointed out on twitter by Britt Robson.
Minnesota bench: 1-6 FG, 0 assists, 8 turnovers.— brittrobson (@brittrobson) December 31, 2013
The bench's final stat line? 2-12 from the field, 2 assists (both made shots and assists courtesy of J.J. Barea), and 9 turnovers (5 of those also courtesy of Mr. Barea).
In other words, it was going to take a lot from Minnesota's starters for them to have a chance in the second half.
A 15-2 run by Minnesota, a 14-point outburst by Corey Brewer, Kevin Love being Kevin Love, and a 38-point explosion, all in the third quarter, got the Wolves right back in it. By the end of the third, they were tied at 81 in an entirely different basketball game.
The fourth quarter was very much a back-and-forth ordeal, with the Timberwolves even taking a brief lead, and holding onto it until about the 6-minute mark. From there on out, the Mavericks stormed back in a series of plays that included a pair of Shawn Marion three-pointers, adding to his season high of 32 points on 14-19 shooting, and 4-6 shooting from deep.
With 6 seconds remaining in the game, the Timberwolves had a chance to win or tie, Kevin Love attempted a three pointer, where it looked like he may have gotten fouled by Shawn Marion. But, no foul was called.
Before you watch the video below, listen to Alan Horton's radio broadcast of the final call. It is excellent.
Then, for those of you who haven't seen it yet:
As Kevin Love put it after the game, "That was pretty, pretty obvious."
And while it was obviously the final nail in the coffin for the Wolves, it does not excuse the way Minnesota played for the other 47 minutes, 57 seconds of the game. They had multiple opportunities in the fourth quarter's final 6 minutes to put it away, but they did not. They allowed Shawn Marion more open three pointers than he typically gets during shootaround. Dallas' lead in the first half looked like it had the makings of a blowout. Minnesota's bench didn't contribute in either half.
It was a foul. Still, this never would have been an issue if the Wolves got themselves in a better position earlier in the game.
Either way, it's a tough one to take in. The Wolves will try to bounce back Wednesday night at home against the New Orleans Pelicans. It will be a 7pm game broadcasted on FS North.
Here is the link to tonight's box score.