With the Dallas Mavericks looking a step slow all night on the second night of a back-to-back, the Dallas coaching staff rolled the dice with a daring new line-up that fueled a dramatic fourth quarter comeback.
Delonte West, in only his second game back from a finger injury that had kept him out for six weeks, played the entire fourth quarter, combining with Jason Terry to form a well-rounded back court capable of defending, shooting from the perimeter and penetrating to the front of the rim.
Terry finished with 17 points on 7-12 shooting, as West's presence on the floor allowed him to focus on hunting for his own shot.
Ian Mahinmi and Shawn Marion, meanwhile, provided invaluable defense on the other side of the floor, as their length and activity allowed the Mavericks to somewhat hold Dwight Howard in check. Most of his 19 points came on the free-throw line, as Dallas resorted to fouling him rather than letting him get open looks in the paint.
And with the game close in the final minutes, the Mavericks gave the ball to one of the NBA's best closers, who took them all the way to the finish.
Dirk, who finished with 28 points on 9-18 shooting, accepted the double team and found West for an open three pointer with a minute left. In the game's final ten seconds, Orlando didn't send a second defender to help Hedo Turkoglu, leaving him isolated with Dirk in the mid-post.
From there, the conclusion was inevitable.