(8) Jumper ties series against Phoenix 1-1 (2005)
I don't have any personal memories of this shot because I didn't watch this game. I didn't watch the Mavericks whatsoever this year, because I was in elementary school and didn't care about sports.
But I care now, and I've done my best to make up for lost time, especially when it comes to the career of Dirk Nowitzki. These playoffs in 2005 weren't his best moment. Nash had left that offseason, and then the Mavericks needed seven games to take care of Houston in the no. 4 and 5 match-up. Dirk didn't play well, and it just so happened that the next series was against Nash's new team in Phoenix. The Mavericks took the no. 1 seeded Suns to six games, but once again, Dirk wasn't at his greatest down the stretch.
But in among all that, there's this shot, where Dirk reminds everyone that he's really damn good. Even though it would be several years before people start recognizing his one-footed fadeaway, this is undoubtedly the "early renditions" of that shot. Dirk uses his quickness to blow by Quentin Richardson, then instead of going for a contested layup, spins back away to nail the easy jumper.
- Tim Cato (@tim_cato)
(9) Crazy bank shot to beat Orlando (2012)
I remember a lot of things about this shot. I remember Dirk raining hellfire on anyone who dared to defend him. I remember Delonte West hitting huge baskets in the fourth quarter. I remember being annoyed that Dirk took the shot so soon, and then elated when it went in. And then totally baffled on how he even managed to hit it once the replays showed.
I remember that with about a minute left, Hedo Turkoglu drove for the dunk and Ian Mahinmi met him at the apex and earned a ridiculous, ridiculous block. Delonte West collected the ball and was fouled. If Hedo scores there, the game changes entirely. Instead, Hedo can only shrug his shoulders, and probably has never jumped that high since.
Dirk routinely hits shots that would be described as having a "high degree of difficulty," but this shot is something else. I would love to give it to a physics class at my university and let them figure out how hard it is to do that. Dirk isn't even facing the basket when he starts to pull up for this shot, and Hedo has to be pleased with his defense, at least for a moment.
But then the shot drops, and for the umpteenth time, we're asking ourselves, "How did you do that, Dirk?"
- Tim Cato (@tim_cato)