One of the most successful years in Dallas Mavericks franchise history is reflected in the Top 100 Plays from NBA.com. As our editor-in-chief Kirk Henderson is fond of saying, watching basketball is hard. Even if accessibility is not a limitation for you, time almost always is. There are just too many games to watch more than a fraction of what the NBA has to offer on a nightly basis. When that dynamic plays out over an entire season, it is inevitable that most of us have missed some truly jaw-dropping moments.
The NBA just dropped their top 100 plays video and while the entire video half-hour video is worth a watch, sometimes we just want to scan ahead to the moments when our Dallas Mavericks shined bright.
#80 Dinwiddie’s Revenge (5:40)
Having just sunk the Boston Celtics on the road for his new team, Spencer Dinwiddie further endeared himself to Maverick fans with this incredible rise and fire to win a hard-fought game against his former team. Dinwiddie has since recounted telling teammates coming into that road trip that he was going to hit the game-winner in the Brooklyn Nets game. A magical moment that helped Dallas continue their road warrior ways.
#75 Luka’s behind the head to Maxi (7:00)
Here’s another dose of magic at the expense of the Brooklyn Nets. In just the fourth game of this season, with the score tied at 80 late in the third quarter, Luka Doncic drives into the lane and quickly finds himself triple-teamed. Defenders keep learning that placing Doncic in Kobayashi Maru scenarios only gives him an excuse to try something spectacular. The loss of Maxi Kleber hurts on so many levels and looking back at this finish reminds us that Kleber anticipates the brilliance of Doncic as well as anyone on the roster.
#71 Luka tells Cam Johnson to have a seat (8:11)
You know the game and you know the moment. It is etched into our collective brain. The world had picked the Phoenix Suns to win the series and forcing a game 7 did nothing to shift the punditry’s narrative. Was the white-hot start in the first quarter something the Suns could crawl back from or was this game going into the second half already over? Up 54-27 late in the second quarter, Doncic notched his 27th point to match the entire Phoenix scoring output from the first half. I am convinced Cam Johnson was praying to draw a charge with this exaggerated slide away from Doncic but instead all he procured was the best seat in the house.
#66 Luka slings pass between defenders legs to Maxi Kleber (9:48)
In hockey, they call it the five-hole. Taurean Prince of the Minnesota Timberwolves was used for on-court target practice as Luka Doncic beams this pass through the wickets on its way to Maxi Kleber. The second-greatest player from Würzburg simply cannot heal fast enough.
#38 Luka dunks on Holliday (18:32)
In a game now remembered for the Dallas free throw meltdown (10-24 from the line), this dunk on Jrue Holliday stands out as a great moment. It is tough to know what to love more - the throwdown or the reaction from Doncic after the play.
#2 Luka miracle putback vs Knicks to force OT completes comeback (30:25)
Improbable comebacks have to be stitched together like a perfect bit of latticework in real-time. Mistakes from an opponent in the lead do not devalue a comeback - they are part of its inherent premise. The shift in momentum creates a sense of dread as the storm is approaching faster than the clock will tick away.
When Doncic intentionally misses this free throw, two Knicks have a chance to go for the rebound. If either of them does it alone, the game ends. Instead, they both do, and there waiting behind them is the miracle man just waiting to flip it in and react with unbridled joy.