Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle accused the Jazz of “thugging it up,” no doubt talking about a play in the fourth quarter when Derrick Favors fell and pulled Dirk Nowitzki, who was playing in his eighth game of the season, down with him.
“I guess it just let Dallas know that we’re not going to be ran over,” Jefferson said.
But at no point was the Jazz’s poise and recently found toughness more evident than with 32.2 seconds left when Nowitzki beat Favors off the dribble, and Jefferson, not noted for his defense, slid over to draw a charge with the Jazz clinging to a 96-92 lead.
“He’s not as quick as he used to be,” Jefferson said, “and I’m pretty sure he’s not 100 percent yet, but he gave me enough time to jump over in front of him and take the contact.”
Nowitzki missed the Mavericks’ first 27 games after preseason knee surgery, but he led the Mavs with 20 points on 7-of-14 shooting.
However, this game may best be remembered for Corbin’s bold decision to test a theory in a critical situation, although in the immediate aftermath of the win he deflected credit.
“The guys have to do the job on the floor,” he said.
On Monday, they did.
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