It's storybook, really.
A team down 15 points with barely seven minutes to play to come back, tie the game, and then win it. A team who was careless and mistake-ridden on offense and defense for nearly the entire game to suddenly roll out a six minute stretch of basketball that was near perfection. A superstar, looking for redemption from a previous collapse, to score the final nine points, including two baskets with an injured left hand.
Are we sure that this isn't the script for Hollywood's next basketball movie? Heck, I know for a fact that if it was, I'd call it cheesy and unrealistic.
That's what the Mavericks did. They defied history, they defied odds, and they defied everything that seems realistic.
What would have been realistic was a run by the Mavericks. They close to single digits, but a turnover leads to either Wade assisting James for the dunk, or vice versa. That would be realistic. The defense gets a few stops, but James finally blows by and gets an and-1, sealing the game. Anything, really, except what happened.
For the defense to lock down like they did...in some ways, its even more impressive. There's not really a reason for a backcourt of Terry and Kidd being able to stop Dwyane Wade. Marion is a great defender, but even for him its hard to stop an athletic monster such as LeBron from getting into the lane, yet he did it repeatedly. However, for about six minutes in the 4th, they did just that, holding Miami to 1-10 shooting.
For the offense, which had been absolutely plagued with careless and mind-numbing turnovers, to hit 9-10 shots down the stretch is just as incredible. A team that kept tripping over its own shoelaces delivered possibly the best Finals comeback ever.
And Dirk, of course, making every clutch, crunch time shot, with a hurt finger, after a game where he missed makeable shots, and lots of them. It doesn't make sense, until you realize it's Nowitzki that you're talking about. He's a seven footer shooting threes. Of course he doesn't make sense!
Now, what is means is that the Mavericks have a legitimate chance to win the NBA Finals, something that the statistics show is basically impossible once going down 2-0 (for any team without a Wade/Salvatore combo). This shows that the Mavericks can play with the Heat. The Mavericks have held substantial leads in this series (seven, eight, nine points, that's substantial in the Finals), but they all seemed to be achieved through Miami's poor play rather than great play from Dallas, and had the feeling as if the Mavericks still did not achieve as much as they could have.
There's no arguing with that stretch we just had. Nobody expects the Mavericks to do that for an entire game (they'd win approximately 176 to 20...), but their ability to play lockdown defense, find quality shots, and most importantly, make crucial baskets, shows that this is an evenly matched series. The Mavericks knew that, but falling down 2-0 certainly would have caused a least a few role players to doubt their ability.
And to Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry, this has to be the greatest feeling in the world, barring actually winning it all. In 2006, they were humiliated. Now, in 2011, they have just humiliated the Heat right back. Just remember, as they surely do, that the Mavericks are still tied at one game. They went into the series to "Beat the Heat". Well...consider this step one of four.