(3) 3-pointer response to a Deron Williams prayer (2008)
Coming off of a depressing first round upset to Golden State in 2007 and a heartbreaking Finals loss to Miami in 2006, Mavs fans really needed their team to get back into the playoffs in 2008 to exorcise some demons. With this game winner, Dirk sealed the opportunity to do just that, clinching the Mavs' eighth straight 50-win season and a playoff berth.
I love shots like this. The emotional low followed by the emotional high. When Deron hit that shot, your heart sank. Fortunately, with no timeouts left, the Mavericks had to inbound the ball immediately. So my emotional low lasted about 3 seconds before my brain transitioned into full-on "give the ball to Dirk and I know that we will win this" mode. And that's exactly what happened. Any Dirk game winner is fun, but I've always enjoyed the threes the most. Dirk threes are glorious, high-arching, rainbow shots of wonder. Seriously though, how did Utah leave him open?
This shot was so amazing that it almost doesn't matter that it really only locked up another first round exit from the playoffs. It was Dirk in all his clutch Dirky-ness.
- Bailey Rogers (@BRogers789)
(6) Layup and a Kevin Garnett foul (2012)
You can figure out in your own time where Dirk and Kevin Garnett fall in the all-time rankings of power forwards, but they're probably both top five. As both near the end of their respective careers, it's impossible to not marvel at what they've accomplished.
But in the moment of this game winning shot, it's pretty clear which first-ballot Hall of Famer gets all of the attention. The entire sequence is fantastic because Garnett is fouling Dirk as soon as he catches it. He has his hands all over him, and Dirk slides right by him to drive at the basket and finish with a ridiculous layup, absorbing so much contact that the referee can't swallow his whistle any longer.
For much of his career, we've complained that Dirk should get more calls on the perimeter, and this is a classic example. But with the game on the line and the seconds ticking down, Dirk wasn't going to worry about that. He takes it right at Kevin Garnett, and while it may not be the best, this is one of my very favorite shots in this entire tournament.
- Tim Cato (@tim_cato)