Is Gordon Hayward a "mini-me" version of Dirk Nowitzki?

Not exactly, Nowitzki said after Hayward popped in 27 points and had six rebounds and five assists in a performance that had all the elements of a vintage Dirk game.

"Oh, man, he's way more athletic than I ever was," Nowitzki said. "I like him. He plays hard, goes 100 mph all the time, sticks his nose in there and goes to the glass. And he plays physical for his size. He's not scared and the sky's the limit for him, especially if he shoots the ball like that. It opens up the drive for him."

Before Monday, the most vivid memory of Haward that the Mavericks had was last season when Delonte West gave the 6-7 swingman the infamous "West Willy," poking a finger in Hayward's ear during an emotional point in a game at Utah.

On Monday, Hayward hit four of five 3-pointers and mixed in a pair of blocked shots. His 3-pointer with 2:20 to go made it 93-86 and essentially put the Mavericks in a no-win situation.

"Hayward had Hayward had a great game," coach Rick Carlisle said. "He hurt us all night long, he is a very athletic player, he is very skilled and he understands how to play.

"He got us time and time again. The three's at the end of the first half were big

because we had a lead. There were a few plays down the stretch where he hit a shot or got his hand on the ball or something, all those things add up."