Take a look at Part 1, featuring the 6th through 10th best games, right over here. No need for an introduction; let's just charge right on in.
5. The Mavericks go Streak Busting in Miami
As you'll see a little bit later on in this list, the first time is always better. That doesn't mean that beating Miami for a second time to end their 12-game win streak wasn't satisfying. The streak busters were at it again, snapping Miami's while also extending their regular season win streak over the Heat to 14 in a row. A nightmare game by Jason Terry turned around drastically headed into the final quarter, where he scored all of his 19 points and put the game away for good with a late three pointer.
LeBron shot just 6-17, despite posting a near triple-double. In his credit, at least he decided to be consistent and always suck when playing the Mavericks. That's a constant I could live with.
4. The Mavericks Turn Around Their Losing Streak By Besting the Lakers
If anyone needed to be reminded of how important Dirk was, here you go. After the Mavericks lost seven of nine without Dirk, he returned to participate in two more losses. Now riding a six game losing streak, reeling from the recent injuries to Caron Butler and a not-quite-healthy-but-playing-cuz-he's-a-German-beast Dirk Nowitzki, there was no expectations of any changes going up against the then-reigning champs.
Instead, the Mavericks come through with one of their finest bounce-back moments of the year. Shawn Marion and Jason Terry come off the bench to score 22 each, crucial because despite Dirk's best efforts, he was not effective and only scored 14. It was also Sasha Pavlovic's finest moment as a Maverick, chipping in 11 points. Yeah, remember the Pavlovic days? Those seemed so long ago. It was an important game to help the Mavericks get on a roll (they lost the next game against the Bulls but started their 18-1 stretch afterwards) at a point where many people were close to giving up. And, of course, it was the Lakers. About the only thing they could have done that would have been more satisfying would be to sweep them in a four game series.
3. Kidd Silences Boston With a Game Winning Three Pointer
Maverick fans have become accustom to Dirk hitting clutch game winners, but seeing Jason Kidd pump fake and then bury the go-ahead three pointer was unexpected surprise. Ironically, Kidd only got his chance thanks to an uncharacteristic bobble by Dirk off an otherwise perfectly run pick and pop. Once Jason got the ball, though, he sure looked a lot more like the guy who had the third most made threes in NBA history than the guy whose biggest weakness for years was his ability to shoot. It was a beautiful, beautiful moment for the Mavericks, as they once again took on the mighty Celtics and dispatched them with an even more impressive game winner.
In typical Maverick fashion, this game featured a frantic fourth quarter comeback as the Mavericks scored the final ten points of the game after trailing by six late. A clutch Dirk and-1 with just two and a half minutes left swung the momentum, and after Jason Terry sunk a pair from the line, the stage had been set. Jason Kidd did the rest.
2. The Mavericks Beat, no, Humiliate the Heat
Even before the Finals, before the improbable Game 2 comeback and the gritty Game 4 victory and the final Game 6 celebration, there was something special about beating the Heat. Not just beat, but sending them storming off the court to a player's only meeting after beating their asses in every facet of the game. At the time, could you even imagine anything better? Both teams headed into this game playing their fourth game in five nights, with should have clearly been advantage Heat with their younger stars. But hey, nobody ever said basketball plays by the rules. It was the Mavericks, again and again, who made the hustle plays. It was the Mavericks, all night, who upped the tempo by running and playing all out. And it was the Mavericks who gave the Heat their fourth loss in five games.
Add in the fact that LeBron went 5-19 from the field and "accidentally" bumped his coach on the way to the bench and I didn't even care that all ESPN focused on was the Heat's struggles, not the Mavericks win. They still had to show the highlights. While not the best game, it was perhaps the best moments of the entire regular season...beating that hated team.
1. Dirk Gets Injured, And the Mavericks Still Win in OKC
No, the "best game" is not a 3OT thriller. The final margin is double figures, and the opponent was not a division opponent, or the hated Lakers, or anything else that would indicate this game would be the best regular season game of the entire year. But more than any other game, it showed why this year was different, as the saying goes. It showed why the Mavericks didn't end this year sulking at home, crushed after another early playoff exit, and why instead it ended with Dirk hoisting the Larry O'Brien Trophy high above his head.
There was 9:10 left in the 2nd quarter when Dirk went down after a routine pump fake and step through jumper. The video, for once, is not damning at all, and really never showed exactly what happened. Knees are just like that, though, and something as simple as that awkward angle turned into a nine missed games. But while Dirk and his knee become the story after the game, the story in the game was the rest of the team. Without Dirk, the superstar MVP who embodied their offense almost single-handedly, what happened next was expected. The lead the Mavericks held whittled away, and at halftime, the two teams were tied. With Dirk ruled out, the game seemed practically over as the 2nd quarter started. Caron Butler and Jason Terry against Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook...it was pretty clear who was favored.
But somehow, the Mavericks stayed in it. People stepped up -- Shawn Marion scored eight straight in the 3rd, Butler and Terry each hit big buckets down the stretch, and even Alexis Ajinca (of all people!) contributed a three pointer. Caron's 22 footer with a minute and a half left stretched the lead to ten, and the game was over. This gave the Mavericks seventeen wins in eighteen attempts, showcasing why the Mavericks had a chance to be different this year.
The Mavericks obviously proceeded to struggle in the coming games without Nowitzki. But here, seeing him go down, they won this game for Dirk. There were plenty of games in the playoffs that Dirk carried the team on his back and won it almost single-handedly. But there were also a few games that Dirk struggled and couldn't match his extraordinary play that everyone is accustom to seeing. Instead of the Mavericks failing, like previous years, there was someone that stepped up, be it Jason Kidd or Jason Terry or Shawn Marion or J.J. Barea. Ultimately, Dirk won the Mavericks the championship. But in this game, the Mavericks won it for Dirk.