(6) 2014 first round, Game 3 vs. San Antonio
The entire basketball Internet seemed to be in agreement that this series would be a slaughter of the eighth seed Mavericks. It was anything but.
This is one of those games I remember exactly where I was (or wasn't, rather). Dallas had managed to win a game in San Antonio, making the Spurs work hard for their one win and stealing home court advantage. But, I was still skeptical they would make a series of it and left the bar* where I was watching the game with two minutes to go, the Spurs up by five.
During the final two minutes, Dallas managed to tie the game three times, but after running the clock down on the final San Antonio possession, Manu Ginobili hit a jumper with just two seconds left to give the Spurs a 108-106 lead and a likely victory.
But on the out of bounds play, Jose Calderon passed up an open Monta to hit Vince Carter on his way to the corner, where Carter nailed a buzzer-beating three for a 109-106 Dallas victory. It was a perfect basketball moment, one that gave the underdog Mavs the lead in the series and set us up for one of the most entertaining first round series in a year full of them.- Kate (@crawfordkate)
*This is less egregious than it sounds: I would've otherwise been late to the wedding of a friend who dragged all of the hockey fans I know out of a bar during the 2012 NHL playoffs so that they'd be on time for my wedding. I owed her.
(11) 2005 first round, game 7 vs. Houston
At 116-76, it was the largest Game 7 blowout in NBA history. Houston had forced a Game 6 after a 37-point Tracy McGrady explosion, but it wasn't to be in Game 7, with the Mavericks moving onto the semifinals. Dirk Nowitzki didn't even need to shoot well, missing nine of his 14 shots. Josh Howard and Jason Terry took over with 52 combined and everyone else chipped in respectively.
It's a bit odd this game is on here given a six-game loss in the semifinals to the Suns the next round, but there definitely is something about this Mavericks team that likes to stand out in memory. The Rockets weren't quite the rival we'd consider them now, but certainly the beating of a division foe stood out in the grand scheme of Dallas' postseason success.