(1) Last-second layup in Game 2 of the Finals (2011)
This probably isn't too ancient a recounting just yet, but if you'll allow me to set the stage a little: Miami -- the most anticipated team maybe in sports history -- had just completed their rampage of the Eastern Conference, winning all three playoff series 4-1. In Game 1 of the Finals, LeBron James made four of five three-pointers, and Miami won convincingly 92-84. They had now won 13 of their 16 playoff games.
After essentially playing each other to a standstill through three quarters of Game 2, Miami began to pull away in the fourth quarter. A Dwayne Wade three and pose put Miami up 88-73 and that score remained until almost exactly six and a half minutes left.
I don't care how optimistic you are. At this point in time, it looked pretty bad. The clock was striking midnight on the Dallas' unbelievable postseason run. Dirk Nowitzki's shot at erasing the only black mark on his otherwise amazing career was drifting away. For the Mavericks' fans, exorcising the demons of 2006 was looking like less and less of a possibility.
Then that indescribably great comeback happened, which was fantastic in its own right but especially memorable because it served as the prelude to the final 24 seconds, when Jason Kidd handed off the ball to Dirk Nowitzki above the right elbow. Nowitzki used a spin move and hesitation dribble to beat Chris Bosh to the basket for a left-handed layup that changed the course of Maverick team history. I know I can still remember where I was when this moment happened. Can you?
- Alan Smithee (@SmitheeMMB)
(16) Germany beats Spain (2005)
I'm from Spain, so I remember this game winner very well. It was 2005 and I had just become a Mavs fan a few years back thanks to the 2003 Mavs vs. Kings series, so it was the first time I saw Dirk playing against a team I rooted for, and I knew what was coming. My friends didn't, though, and they were already talking about playing the European Championship final against Greece. We were all at a bar with about 50 people to watch the game.
We were without Pau Gasol and Dirk killed us with 27 points, but Juan Carlos Navarro had 27 too and he scored a go-ahead bucket with 15 seconds to go. We started to celebrate, but only for a few seconds. Dirk caught the ball outside the 3-point line and went left, defended by Jorge Garbajosa, who, at the time, was one of the best European defensive players. Pump fake and then... swish. Calderon had a three to win it but he missed it. Germany lost against Greece and finished second, but it was their best tournament in the Nowitzki era, and it was all thanks to that shot.
It was a very odd feeling to be sad because of a Dirk Nowitzki game winner, I can tell you that.
- Enrique Garcia (@D_Mavs)