The only player with multiple appearances on this top 10 list, but not for playing the sport pictured. (Photo by Ralph Orlowski/Bongarts/Getty Images)
Playoff basketball is on every night now, but it's not quite the same as watching the Mavericks play. To help pass the long months awaiting us until the 2012-13 season starts in October, there will be a top 10 series running here on Mavs Moneyball. I'll start with the top 10 Performances from this season, followed by Games and Plays, each separated into two parts. Here is part one, featuring the 6th-10th best individual performances by a Mavericks player this season.
10. Jason Kidd against Golden State, 4/12/12
Statline: 9 points, 3/5 3PT, 10 rebounds, 12 assists, 3 steals, 2 blocks
Everyone knows Kidd is near the top of several all-time statistics, such as three-point makes, assists and steals. Here's another: most rebound-assist double-doubles. It's so Jason Kidd, to miss a triple-double because he did not have enough points. But in a way, that's how he stands out from the dozens of other players who have the same or greater skill set, but only care about how many times they put the basketball in the hoop. Kidd has always been one of the most unselfish players in the league, and as seen in this game, was simply doing whatever was needed to make his team win.
9. Brandan Wright against Houston, 3/24/12
Statline: 34 minutes, 14 points, 7/9 FG, 6 rebounds, an assist, 7 blocks, no turnovers
The hope is that 2013 is the breakout year for Wright, because 2012 initiated him as a productive rotation member showing flashes of something greater. This game in particular showed his abilities, as he terrorized Houston on both ends. Strong finishes and dunks, coupled with the help defense Wright delivered, shows just why 2013 is so hopeful for him as a player. Deron throws good alley-oop passes, just saying...
8. Shawn Marion against Phoenix, 1/23/12
Statline: 29 points, 11/21 FG, 4/6 3PT, 3/5 FT, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, a steal, no turnovers
Something about playing against his old team again sparked Marion on this evening at the AAC. With Dirk out with his knee/condition issues and Vince missing due to a sprained foot, the Mavericks knew going in that to win, they were going to have to tough it out. What they didn't know is that Kidd, West and Beaubois would combine to shoot 2-17. That's where Marion decided to do his best impersonation of his high top fade days, and ended up hitting four three pointers on his way to twenty-nine points. Calling it a timely performance doesn't do it justice.
7. Dirk Nowitzki against Utah, 4/16/12
Statline: 53 minutes, 40 points, 13/26 FG, 12/12 FT, 9 rebounds, 6 assists
Yes, this performance by Dirk occurred in a game that the Mavericks would eventually let slip away, but such a heroic effort from our superstar cannot be overlooked. His 53 minutes were the most he had played in a game since 2007, and Dirk did not take a single second off while on the court. Even in the final throes of the third quarter, Dirk was battling, even though it was clear he had simply run out of steam. The fact that he was still able to turn in forty points on 50% shooting like he did is amazing, and deserves praise that it missed out on when Utah won and Mavericks fans did their best to block this game out of their memories.
6. Jason Terry against San Antonio, 1/29/12
Statline: 34 points, 14/23 FG, 1/3 3PT, 5/5 FT, 2 rebounds, 4 assists, a steal
I remember watching the last few minutes of this game in the break room at my work. Roddy Beaubois exploited the Spurs D with his speed for a couple quick baskets, then JET arrived. Down two with the clock running down, he took the ball up court and pulled up from fifteen feet, burying a clutch jumper to send the game to overtime. After work, watching the game start to finish on the DVR, I was treated to 53 minutes of Jason Terry playing with the same level of aggression and success as he did in that one game-tying pull-up jumper. Odds are not in his favor that he will be a Maverick next year, but if he leaves, he will always be respected for his games where he took the Mavericks on his back and dragged them to victory.