The Mavs Stunned The Thunder In A Game 6 Comeback To Win The Series On A Foul In The Final Seconds

The Dallas Mavericks are headed to their second conference finals in three years after a truly wild Game 6 that saw them erase a huge second half deficit to win 117-116 in a frantic fourth quarter finish.

After leading by as many as 17 in the third quarter, the Thunder started to go a bit cold and Dallas trimmed the deficit to a single possession for the first time in the second on with a Kyrie Irving three with just over 7 minutes to play.

The Mavs tied it a minute later on a Dereck Lively II putback dunk, and from there the game went off the rails. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander did his best to keep the Thunder in front, but the Mavs found their groove offensively — with help from some huge offensive boards — and were able to take their first lead of the second half with 3:39 to play on a Luka Doncic midrange bucket.

At that point it was haymakers on both sides. Jalen Williams immediately answered back with a three to reclaim the lead for OKC, which Kyrie Irving followed with an answered prayer that bounced straight up and in from three to put Dallas back up two.

Gilgeous-Alexander knotted things back up with a midrange, before PJ Washington hit another huge three to get Dallas back in front. The Thunder finally were the team that blinked, with Chet Holmgren missing a three and then another 9-1-1 shot going in — this time, it was a fading midrange bucket from Derrick Jones Jr. Again, Gilgeous-Alexander tried to provide the answer, hitting a huge three to cut the deficit to two.

After Dallas finally missed a shot, the Thunder were able to get the lead down to one after Washington got called for a foul before an inbounds pass, with OKC calling timeout with 27 seconds left and needing a bucket of any kind to take the lead. They got SGA on a switch with Lively and with the Mavs rim protector away from the basket, they were able to set up a lob for Holmgren to go up 116-115.

Doncic would drive the lane and lose the ball, but got it over to Washington in the corner, and he drew a foul on Gilgeous-Alexander for three free throws with 2.5 seconds to play. The Thunder challenged the call, but it was deemed unsuccessful because despite Gilgeous-Alexander getting ball first, the ball wasn’t out of Washington’s hand, meaning the contact after SGA got the ball was still a foul.

Washington rattled in the first two free throws and then purposefully missed the second, as the Thunder burned their last timeout in the challenge, meaning all they got was a heave from Williams that went begging.

It was a brutal way to lose for the Thunder, as Gilgeous-Alexander was sensational all game, scoring 36 points to lead all scorers and dished out eight assists, but that final foul will haunt him this offseason. Williams had his best game of the series with 22 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists, while Holmgren added 21 points.

The problem was, they couldn’t get enough timely stops, in part because they couldn’t secure the rebound to end the possession. Dallas had 14 offensive boards, helping negate a sloppy game with 17 turnovers. Lively had four of those as part of his 15-rebound night off the bench (chipping in 12 points) as his presence in the paint flipped the game on its head — he was a +26 in a one-point win. Doncic and Irving were terrific, combining for 51 points with Irving once again doing most of his damage late. They got a big contribution from Jones Jr., who had 22 points and hit four big threes, while Washington had timely buckets late and hit the clinching free throws.

Dallas will now await the winner of Sunday’s Game 7 between the Timberwolves and Nuggets in Denver.