I've been hinting at these five plays for a while now. In the honorable mentions, I talked about how this year, the Mavericks really were an exciting bunch. For the bottom half of this top ten list, the memories that an incredible play can provide was discussed. They really do stand out as exceptional and ridiculous basketball plays, plays that even the Thunder, the Heat and the Clippers would be impressed (teams known for their highlight plays).
In this edition, let's do something a little different. Instead of just listing my order, we're going to vote on the number one play. They're listed beyond in no particular order, and after you take a look at each one, give your input on the best play. If you'd like, give your complete top five list in thecomments, or mention plays that I might have missed.
This shot was perhaps THE most ridiculous shot I've ever seen Dirk make, and that's not hyperbole. There is no reason whatsoever that the ball should kiss the glass and drop in without even touching the rim. None. And yet, there it is, dropping through, to win the game for Dallas. It's not enough that Dirk is able to hit this shot, but he hit it with less than a minute left in the fourth quarter while his team was trailing.
I don't know how he did it. I don't know how he didn't leave the shot way short as he swung the ball from one side of his body to the other while he was already starting his shooting motion. I can't imagine how he even saw the basket with Turkoglu's hand there, and then after all, you realize that he never even lined his body up with the basket. I don't know how Dirk does it. But he does it, and he does it for the Dallas Mavericks, and damn it feels so good.
I've always been a Mark Followill fan, and moments like this is why. "WHAT!?" Can there be another reaction to that play? When Gerald Green windmilled an alley oop for the Nets this season, people called it one of the greatest they had ever seen. I'm saying right now, Wright's was better. Brandan snagged an overthrown pass with one hand, switched it back to his other, and dropped it through on his way down.
It's rare enough to find someone athletic enough to do that, but Wright takes it a step further and makes it look so fluid. No smile, no grin trying to creep on his face as he runs back to play defense. Just a quick point to Terry, giving him credit for the lob pass. It wasn't right on the money, but it was close enough, and that's all Wright needed.
As a Mavericks fan, one of the most frustrating things to watch is Dirk Nowitzki getting bumped, hand-checked and held on a game by game basis without people ever drawing fouls for it. There's tough, physical defense, which I can respect, then there's overly physical defense which should results in fouls, but often doesn't. And then, a step beyond that, there's Garnett.
Tie game, Mavericks ball, final seconds. That's Dirk Nowitzki time. What that also means is that Garnett is his defender, and as usual, his "defense" means he's going to foul the crap out of Dirk and not get called for it. There have been some moments in the past where Dirk has been criticized for shrinking in these situations. Not any longer. Dirk drives by, absorbs several fouls that went uncalled, takes the ball right into the teeth of the defense, and somehow gets the circus shot to go. It's beautiful. It's powerful. It's unstoppable. Those bumps and shoves by Garnett might as well have been mosquitoes landing on Dirk's arm, just to be slapped off as Dirk finished winning another basketball game for the Mavericks.
I remember Wright had some concussion issues mid-way through the season. Was this where the injury was inflicted, hitting his head on the roof? The way he skies for this ball, the extension he shows reaching back and out for the lob pass, and finally, throwing it through with just the one hand, is something magnificent. Just to catch that ball would be incredible, but the finish makes this play inhuman.
Terry's lob was so far off it's sad, but in this instance, I'm okay with a
little lot of inaccuracy. During the season, it was almost a meme. If it comes out that Terry told his teammates, "If you see Wright open for a lob pass, throw it high and in front so that he actually has to work for it a little, otherwise it's too easy," I can't say I'd be shocked. He's an incredible athlete, and if this doesn't demonstrate that for you, I don't know what will.
You might have noticed a trend on these first four plays, alternating from Dirk to Wright to Dirk to Wright. Well, to keep it balanced, this final play features BOTH of the players. Dirk on the microphone has provided some pretty awesome moments over the past few years, but this might be the best. And who can blame him for getting so excited over such an incredible play. Wright didn't windmill it, or reverse, or even use one hand, but the timing was incredible. This time, Terry makes a perfect pass, tossing it up with plenty of air underneath so that Wright could go and get it. Brandan did not disappoint, and in finally completes one of the longest developing alley oop plays I've ever seen.
Shut it down...let's go home. After that, he might be onto something. The JET threw that pass from just a couple feet inside the three point arc. Wright judged it perfectly, and slammed it throw without any regards of the Timberwolf player attempting to break it up. And Dirk nails the commentary, as he is prone to do. Each by themselves, they are great plays, but combined together in such a perfect mix, this becomes one of the very best plays of the season.