Over the next couple of weeks, Mavs Moneyball is trying to determine the best Mavericks playoff game since 2000. Here's our homepage, with every game, seed and matchup. Your votes are being recorded below!
(3) 2006 semifinals, Game 7 vs. San Antonio
No non-2011 shot lives stronger in memory than Dirk's last-second layup -- "AND THE FOUL!" It's incredible, looking back to remember that this was a semifinals series, because that moment felt like it deserved some sort of trophy.
Dallas almost collapsed there, leading 3-1 and then by 20 points in Game 7 before that fated Manu Ginobili three-pointer briefly put them ahead. But Dirk answered back and Jerry Stackhouse took over the overtime period, preventing a terrible collapse that would have preventing the Finals run, the 50-point beating of the Suns and who knows what else.
Nothing cemented Dirk as one of the NBA's best four or five players like that shot could. Even given the eventual disappointment of 2006, you have to think this game did something for Dirk's psyche that eventually helped him to the win in 2011.
(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.