In a desperate situation, Dorian Finney-Smith made a big request when the Mavericks called timeout to set up a potential game-winning play with under 12 seconds remaining.

As he was in the huddle, Finney-Smith asked coach Jason Kidd if he could station himself in the right corner, one of his favorite spots from which he launches 3-pointers.

Kidd agreed, with Josh Green willingly shifting to the left corner.

So when Jalen Brunson penetrated, he had the option of laying the ball up or whipping a pass to a wide-open Finney-Smith in the corner.

He opted for the pass and when Finney-Smith drilled the 3-pointer, the Mavericks pulled out a 114-113 victory over the Sacramento Kings Saturday evening at American Airlines Center.

It was a shot that not only saved the Mavericks on a night when Luka Dončić was sidelined with a toe injury but also fueled the new nickname for Finney-Smith: Ferrari Doe Doe.

For a guy who signed a lucrative contract extension last month, it’s a sign of playful respect from his teammates, even if it’s a bit embarrassing to Finney-Smith, who has not, for the record, spent any of his contract extension money on a half-million-dollar vehicle.

“Ferrari Doe. Big time shot,” said Brunson after delivering the clutch assist. “Coach put me in position to make a play. They helped a little bit (off of Finney-Smith when Brunson drove). I saw Doe Doe at the last second. I hit him in the shooting pocket and the rest is history. Props to him. It was a big-time shot.”

It was the sort of play that good teams make on a night when they are playing a lower-level opponent, at least in the standings.

“JB had a great find,” Kidd said. “I thought he was shooting the layup, but he made a heck of a play and that’s the trust of this group. No matter what the score is, they keep fighting and keep believing.”

The Mavericks had trailed by 19 in the second quarter. It is the 13th time this season they’ve rallied from 10 points behind or more. They only had seven such rallies all of last season.

The Mavericks improved to a high-water mark for the season at 39-25. The Mavericks have been sizzling for two months, going 23-7 since New Year’s Eve.

And yet, they have made no move up the Western Conference standings. Saturday marked the two-month anniversary of the Mavericks being the No. 5 seed in the West. They’ve never risen to fourth, nor dropped to sixth, since early January.

That’s a long time to be stagnant in the standings, particularly when a team has won at better than a 75 percent clip in 2022.

“It just shows how the West is built – good teams ahead of us and good teams behind us,” Kidd said. “We got to continue to better ourselves on the defensive end and the offensive end. We can’t really worry about the teams in front of us. We can’t worry about the teams behind us. We just got to take care of business, what’s in the moment.”

For the longest time on Saturday, it looked like the Mavericks might get out-Foxed without Luka on the floor.  De’Aaron Fox sliced through the Mavericks for 44 points.

As it turns out, they could survive without their superstar point guard. But it wasn’t until their defense made an appearance that they got it done.

Finally clamping down in the fourth quarter, the Mavericks held Sacramento to 21 points in the period.

“We were at the Mavs Ball, still,” Kidd said of the Friday night black-tie affair the team hosted. “We were in the process of raising money in that first half. But in the fourth quarter, I thought the guys did a great job. We weren’t very big, but the defense, to give up only 21 points puts you in a position to win that game. And they did a great job down the stretch.”

Finney-Smith had the job of slowing down Domantas Sabonis, who did not score in the fourth quarter.

And then there was Spencer Dinwiddie, looking very much like Luka Dinwiddie, He had 36 points, seven assists and the driving layup with 46.3 seconds left that put the Mavericks ahead 111-110.

The Kings got a terrible shot, but the Mavericks couldn’t convert as Brunson’s jumper missed. That’s when Fox took off and sprinted down court. He was tripped with 12 seconds left and hit the second of two free throws to tie it.

After a timeout, Brunson delivered his pass and Finney-Smith delivered the shot with Justin Holiday bearing down on him.

“Honestly, I kind of figured the ball was coming,” Finney-Smith said. “The play we drew up, we were going to get JB downhill and if he don’t get the layup, I think it was coming to me. He made a great pass and I made the shot.”

And as for asking Kidd to be put in the corner?

“That’s the confidence coach has in me,” Finney-Smith said. “Earlier in my career I probably wouldn’t have said anything at all. It feels good that it worked out.”

Twitter: @ESefko

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