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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, December 19, 2009

NBA: Mavericks lose game in OT and Landry loses his teeth in Nowitzki’s elbow

By Eddie Sefko
The Dallas Morning News

DALLAS — It’s not easy being the Mavericks. On Friday night, it was downright painful.

Dirk Nowitzki had to get a tooth picked out of his elbow, and the Mavericks worked overtime and still had their five-game winning streak come to an end, which, of course, hurt worst of all.
The Houston Rockets made the plays in overtime to pull off a 116-108 upset at American Airlines Center, a game that featured numerous controversial officiating calls as well as some clutch play on both sides in the final moments of regulation and overtime.
The game was delayed more than five minutes with 1:01 left in overtime when Aaron Brooks delivered a hard foul on Erick Dampier and the refs huddled to figure things out.
When a technical foul was called on Dampier, his second of the game, he was ejected, even though a flagrant foul was called on Brooks.
The Rockets had gone up 111-104 after the technical free throw, and Kris Humphries made one of two free throws for Dampier.
When Jason Terry’s 3-point try with 54 seconds left rattled in and out, the Mavericks were cooked.
Earlier, they had clawed back from 11 points down to within 99-97 in the final minute when Jason Kidd fouled Brooks, who made the second of two free throws with 19.1 seconds showing.
After a timeout, the Mavericks worked the ball to Tim Thomas, who faked Chuck Hayes into the first row of seats and then set his feet for a perfect 3-pointer that swished to tie the score.
The Rockets could not get a shot off in the final 10 seconds, setting up the overtime.
Nowitzki went out after a collision with Houston’s Carl Landry with 9:28 to go in the second quarter.
The crash took its toll on both players. Landry lost three teeth when Nowitzki’s right elbow rammed into his grill. Nowitzki had a deep gash and, after a timeout, shot two free throws left-handed, just in case he was able to return to the game. Had somebody else shot the free throws, Nowitzki would have had to sit out the rest of the night.
He ended up doing that anyway when it was found that a part of one of Landry’s teeth was lodged in Nowitzki’s elbow area.
Nowitzki had X-rays on the elbow as a precaution and the results were negative. Landry went to Parkland Hospital to have work done on his teeth.
The Mavericks were left without their anchor, but they still were in position to hammer out a win in the fourth quarter.
They were tied 81-81 with eight minutes to go, but the Rockets ripped off eight consecutive points, the final one a technical free throw that came after a minor dust-up between Tim Thomas and Kidd for the Mavericks and David Andersen of the Rockets.
There didn’t appear to be any punches thrown, just some shoving and mean glares. But Rick Carlisle picked up a technical, apparently for stepping onto the court. Carlisle would later be ejected with a second technical.
The Mavericks were struggling on both ends of the court. They got back to within six points a couple of times, including after two J.J. Barea free throws with 2:17 to go, which made it 99-93.
Their defense finally stiffened, and when Kidd and Marion scored, the Mavericks were within two.
It set up a gripping finish to an entertaining, and at times painful to watch, game.
Mavericks prepared to lose Fall: Mavericks director of scouting and vice president of international affairs Amadou Gallo Fall is in line to head up the NBA’s new African offices.
Though nothing is official yet, owner Mark Cuban said it represents “a great opportunity” for Fall.
Fall said he did not wish to comment about the job until there is a confirmation, but all signs indicate that the native of Senegal will be the league’s choice.