LOS ANGELES—The Dallas Mavericks, who dropped their first five games of the NBA season to get off to the worst start in franchise history, finally put up a “W” on Sunday.
“It’s definitely good to get that monkey off our backs,” said forward Harrison Barnes, who scored a career-high 34 points in the 86-75 overtime triumph over the Milwaukee Bucks in Dallas.
J.J. Barea added 21 points, including five in overtime, as the Mavs overcame the absence of German veteran Dirk Nowitzki, who is still nursing a sore right Achilles tendon, and Deron Williams, who has a left calf strain.
“It was a total team effort,” said Barnes, who made 13 of his 26 shots and pulled down eight rebounds in 48 minutes on the floor.
Meanwhile, Utah’s Gordon Hayward made a triumphant NBA return from a fractured finger Sunday by scoring 28 points to lead the Utah Jazz over the host New York Knicks 114-109.
The 26-year-old forward missed the first six games of the season with a broken left ring finger but Hayward, who led Utah last season with 19.7 points and 3.7 assists a game, made the most of his season debut in a Madison Square Garden matinee.
“First off, it felt great just to be out there,” Hayward said. “You work all summer to be able to play, and so to have the injury was definitely unfortunate, but it’s good to be out there with the guys.
“It’s a little awkward playing with the splint for sure, but it’s not going to stop me from getting out there on the court when it’s time to play.”
Rodney Hood scored 12 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter as the Jazz (4-3) outscored New York 36-29 in the last 12 minutes.
George Hill added 23 points and nine assists for Utah while Frenchman Rudy Gobert scored 13 points and grabbed eight rebounds and Derrick Favors scored 13 points and grabbed six rebounds.
“It gives us another guy who can demand double-teams and can create,” Hill said of Hayward’s return. “It just gives a whole other dimension.”
Carmelo Anthony had 28 points and nine rebounds for the Knicks (2-4) while Kristaps Porzingis scored 28 points and grabbed eight rebounds for New York.
The Mavericks’ Barea had six rebounds and five assists in 46 minutes.
“We stuck together today,” Barea said. “We had a great defensive game. Barnes carried us throughout the game, and we had other players, too.”
Australian big man Andrew Bogut returned from a one-game absence and grabbed 16 rebounds. Rookie forward Dorian Finney-Smith, getting his first significant minutes of the season, scored five points with three rebounds and three steals.
“He just plays hungry,” Barnes said of Finney-Smith. “He went out there and got us big stops and extra possessions with offensive boards.”
The Bucks had a three-game winning streak snapped.
“We just really played bad,” said Jabari Parker, who led Milwaukee with 16 points. “Even in overtime, we only scored one point. We can’t let that happen. We had to get them out of their groove and close it out to seal the deal.”
Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo was in early foul trouble and managed only 11 points with seven rebounds.
The Bucks led 68-62 going into the final six minutes, but they eventually paid the price for 27 turnovers, including five in the extra period.
“This was just a case of outlasting an opponent,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. “On defense, we were great. You look at the whole game and we had a plan—we got down early, but we stuck with it.
“We made these guys beat us in half court game and these games can be ugly. But in our situation right now, it’s what we have to do to win games.”
The win was a big boost for Dallas before they embark on a four-game road trip that includes playing the Lakers in Los Angeles on Tuesday, followed by games with Golden State, the New York Knicks and Boston Celtics.
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