(2) The famous and-1 layup against the Spurs (2006)
This isn't a game-winner, really, but it's still one of the most amazing clutch shots of Dirk's career. It's also one of those shots where if you watched it live, you probably remember where you were and how you felt.
For me, it was all about the crazy change in emotions. Mavs led Game 7 big early, crumbled in the third and fourth quarters and then Manu hit that 3-pointer. The arena was rocking, and me and my friends all wanted to throw up.
We were all just very downtrodden. We talked about maybe going for a quick two? Did it really matter? What was the point of life? A Manu three-pointer was going to be the death of us all.
So that's why it was so great when Dirk made it. It was so quick, so sudden, it took us a few seconds to process what happened. Also, the play went to help crush the "Dirk is a soft jump shooter" narrative that made me want to rip my hair out.
- Josh Bowe (@Boweman55)
(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)