The Mavericks and their fans can only hope this was a preview of what the first round of the playoffs will look like.

Not necessarily because the Mavericks can take down Kevin Durant and Oklahoma City in a best-of-7 series like they did Tuesday night. But the entertainment value alone would be worth it.

Watching two teams this gifted offensively would be a treat.

A thoroughly fun night of basketball turned out great for the Mavericks as they knocked off the Thunder, 128-119, in overtime Tuesday at American Airlines Center. It was a gritty show of heart by the Mavericks, who beat the Thunder in two of three meetings this season.

That would mean nothing if they were to meet in the playoffs, of course. And that’s looking like at least a possibility now as the Mavericks seem a little more capable of holding up their end of the bargain.
“It was a great game, it really was,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. “Obviously, we needed the win. Just very proud of the way the guys battled the whole way through it.”

Dirk Nowitzki, coming off one of the worst shooting nights (2-of-12) of his career Sunday against Brooklyn, capped a monster night with a 3-pointer with 57.2 seconds left in the extra period for a 123-115 lead that iced it. He had seven of his 32 points in the extra frame. He also had 10 rebounds and six assists as he basically did it all on a night when the Mavericks needed it all.

Jose Calderon was equally strong. His 3-pointer with 26.8 seconds left in regulation forced the overtime, and his triple with 3:29 left in OT put the Mavericks up 116-111. Calderon finished with 22 points, and seven Mavericks were in double figures.

It all added up to a game the Mavericks desperately needed and one that had all the trimmings of a playoff game.

Durant was typically huge for the Thunder with 43 points. But he was just 2-of-7 shooting from the field in overtime when Shawn Marion did a commendable job guarding him.