SALT LAKE CITY — Just a day earlier, the Dallas Mavericks played an overtime game in Los Angeles, coming up short in a four-point loss to the Lakers — their third road game in four days.
So the logical thinking was that the Mavs would be extra tired Monday night against the Jazz after playing extra minutes barely 24 hours earlier while playing the last game of a tough four-game road trip.
However, the Mavs hardly acted tired, scrapping and fighting with the Jazz all night in the 3-hour-and-17-minute marathon, coming back to force not only one, not two, but three overtime periods. In the end, they didn't have enough in the 123-121 loss.
"It was a phenomenal game and the competition was great, but we came up short," said Dallas coach Rick Carlisle. "There's not a lot of time to belly ache."
Carlisle didn't want to make a big deal about his team's effort in the three-overtime loss. When a radio reporter tried to get a comment out of him about how hard his team competed in a late-season game, Carlisle simply said, "Yeah, I agree."
Maybe he was too tired to say more.
The defending NBA champions had won the first two games of their western road trip, at Golden State and Portland, and looked to have a third win against the Lakers, but were burned by an obvious offensive goaltending on a 3-pointer by Pau Gasol in overtime Sunday.
In Monday's loss, the Mavericks saw Paul Millsap tip in a missed shot with two seconds left to force overtime and Millsap hit a tough shot from the corner to give the Jazz a late in the first overtime. In the second overtime, Al Jefferson sank a turnaround 17-footer to tie the game with 29 seconds left and then in the third overtime, Devin Harris hit a long 3-pointer.
"It's just beyond me, the kind of shots teams are hitting against us this year. It's something to see," Carlisle said "We're playing our (butts) off, we've just got to hang in."
Dirk Nowitzki was unstoppable most of the night as he scored 40 points, including 12 of 12 from the free-throw line. However, he came up short at the end, missing his final three shots.
He missed a fallaway with 2:55 left in a tie game, then missed a three from the top of the key with 1:21 left that could have tied the score. Finally, with his team down three, he missed another three from the right corner that could have tied the score with 5.8 seconds left.
"It was a fun game to be a part of," said Nowitzki. "We had our chances. If we get on rebound at the end of regulation, the game is over."
Shawn Marion, who scored four points in 24 minutes talked about the long game, saying, "That's a lot of basketball. We battled until the end but couldn't pull it out."
After a quiet first half, Jason Terry heated up from long range in the second half and finished with 27 points. Vince Carter added 18 off the bench.
The Mavs, who are just two games ahead of the Jazz in the Western Conference standings, go back home for two games against Houston and Golden State, before finishing on the road against Chicago and Atlanta.