By Crystal Vasquez
Shawn Marion brought fans to their feet with a three-point shot that gave the Mavericks (8-4) their first lead over the Houston Rockets (8-5) since early in the first quarter. With little over a minute left to play in the fourth quarter and the Mavs up 121-119, there wasn’t a bad seat in the American Airlines Center Wednesday night.
Rookie guard Shane Larkin played more than 16 minutes against the Rockets and then watched most of the fourth quarter unfold from his seat on the bench.
In the remaining eight minutes of the game, Larkin saw teammates Samuel Dalembert and Dirk Nowitzki block three of Dwight Howard’s shots. He witnessed Nowitzki score eight crucial points to cut the Rockets lead. He celebrated Marion’s go-ahead 3-pointer, a shot coach Rick Carlisle described as “a huge play.” He watched Jose Calderon sink two clutch free throws to build the Mavs’ lead to 123-120 with 6.7 seconds left. He saw the crowd come to life as they stood cheering for his team.
For veteran NBA champions Nowitzki and Marion, this was just another regular-season game and another notch in the win column. They’ve experienced their share of fourth-quarter comebacks, but probably none bigger than the road win against the Miami Heat in Game 2 of the 2011 NBA Finals.
Monta Ellis played on the winning end of one of the biggest playoff upsets in NBA history as the No. 8 seed Golden State Warriors upset the Mavericks in the first round back in 2007. The atmosphere at Oracle Arena was electric in each of the Warrior’s three home games.
But for Larkin, he described Wednesday night’s game against the Rockets as “probably the best atmosphere I’ve ever played in in my life.”
“Secretly, I wish it could have went to overtime so we could have won in overtime so I could play some more,” Larkin said, jokingly. “But the way we won was amazing.”
Even though Larkin spent the majority of the fourth quarter on the bench, being only his second NBA game played, there wasn’t a better seat in the house.
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