(4) 3-pointer beats Chicago in playoff push (2013)
Even if this game ultimately changed little about the final outcome of the Mavericks' regular season, it is indelibly etched in our minds, for several reasons.
First, in a season where Dirk looked very human early on after returning from a knee injury that sidelined him up until Christmas, this was the game that reminded us all that he could still be truly great.
Second, Dirk's beard! The beard that either made you think 10th century Viking or homeless guy pushing around a shopping cart. It also represented how much pride the team had. After being 10 games under .500 in early January, several players had pledged to not shave until they got back to .500. Which they would do, two weeks later, prompting Dirk to reach for the razor literally right as he got back to the locker room.
Third, and finally, the terrific call by Mark Followill, citing a recent Zach Lowe article that called Dallas "the team that wouldn't die." Desperately needing to win, Dallas pulled out the victory despite being down late, and climbed to within one game of the Lakers and Jazz for the eighth and final playoff spot. It would have been almost unthinkable a few months earlier.
Dirk finished the game with 35 points, and Dallas needed every last one.
- Alan Smithee (@SmitheeMMB)
(13) Step-back against Jeff Foster (2009)
I like that this video shows the previous plays, because they're just as etched in my memory as this shot is. The Mavericks run the Dirk-JET two man game, and Indiana leaves Terry open. Mistake. Bang. Mavs up three.
And then the next play, I remember how good the defense was, before suddenly, out of no where, T.J. Ford steps back and hits a 3-pointer that he had absolutely no business making. It's too bad this is without sound, because I remember the deflation of the Indiana announcers' voices and then the sudden yells as the shot somehow goes in.
But then Dirk, as fluid as ever, gets the ball in the high post and gets the job done. At 7-foot, Dirk can already shoot over just about anyone. If he throws a step-back into there? Forget about it, you're not even contesting the shot. It just becomes a matter of whether or not he can make it, and in this moment, he did. Classic Dirk.
- Tim Cato (@tim_cato)