Apr 26, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Vince Carter (25) celebrates with forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) after hitting the game winning shot during the fourth quarter against the San Antonio Spurs in game three of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

LiVince on a Prayer

When one-legged Kirk Gibson knocked the game winning home run over the fence in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series, the late great Jack Buck spoke for all of the Dodger fans around the world…

I don’t believe what I just saw

The last time a playoff game in the National Basketball Association ended with a game winning 3-point buzzer beater, it came from royalty. Well, of course until last night.

Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

After an improbable blowout victory in San Antonio to tie the Western Conference 8-1 first round matchup, the Mavericks put themselves in the driver’s seat to tilt the balance in a series expected by many – including yours truly (slap) – to be all about the Spurs.

Despite significant efforts and timely contributions from Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Tim Duncan and Tony Brothers, the Mavericks went for the killing blow down 108-106 and 1.7 seconds left. What ensued was pandemonium, and the best kind in life.

Dirk Nowitzki is the closer, Monta Ellis was hot as a hot stick of gum on a hot summer day (poetry), Samuel Dalembert had just hit two clutch-as-can-be free throws, Jose Calderon is the guy you want going for the long distance dagger, right? How about a struggling Vince Carter, 2-7 from the field and 0-2 from downtown in a very quiet night for the 6th Man of the Year candidate.

You can’t predict the two month journey that is the NBA Playoffs, and it was a fading into the front row but comfortably taken 3 ball from MISTER Vince Carter, a shot he’s capable of making but absolutely capable of missing, that flew through the air in front of 20,636 nail biting, hair pulling, clothes tugging, sweat dropping, stranger hugging (see below), hand waving, leg shaking fans.

Then this happened (thanks to @TheSmokingCuban for the link…what a great site)

Then this…

Then things like this started to circulate around the intrawebs.

Again, this. So much this.

I’ve been to some crazy sporting events, but the best have happened at the American Airlines Center to see my beloved Dallas Mavericks. Despite more magnified victories later on in the postseason journey like coming back from two home losses to defeat the Rockets by 40 points in game 7 of round 1 in 2005 or steamrolling the back to back defending champion L.A. Lakers in a clean sweep in round two in 2011, the pure joy and excitement and comrodority of #MFFLs that was on display in yesterday’s buzzer beating thriller against the evil, evil, evil San Antonio Spurs was something so unique and so awesome.

I was out of my usual section 119, bumped over to 121 because Dad wants to cash in on selling a pair for a single, that’s okay. But i’m 2-5 in different seats than the regulars since 2003 and everything counts when you’re looking to accomplish the once-thought impossible.

Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Section 121 was reppin’ #MFFLStrong, the Mark Cuban tabbed theme for the 2014 Dallas Mavericks playoff run that is still proudly on my chest 24 hours after 1/2 man 1/2 amazing brought our beloved owner and the rest of the roster off the bench to maul the last second hero in the corner while that best damn kind of pandemonium in life ripped through the AAC.

To sum up the fandom that was present for 48 minutes on Saturday afternoon in section 121, early in the 2nd quarter during one of #TheManuFlop‘s, I instinctively muttered a phrase that turned around a middle aged woman and her husband in attendance with their two young children. It went something like…

“Oh my sh*t, f*cking g*d da*net.”

I was angry, frustrated, not surprised at Tony Brothers, and embarrassed long enough to apologize to the woman, who asked, “what for?”

That’s why we’re the best fans in the NBA, and I’ll be damned if this 2014 edition of Dallas Mavericks players that believe in each other as much as fans have wanted to believe in them all year don’t have more than a solid chance to overcome the odds and make a run to remember.

We still have Dirk Nowitzki. We still have Rick Carlisle. We still have Mark Cuban. We have a supporting cast growing up as a contender in front of our eyes…

…there’s just something special about being a Mavs fan.

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Tags: #DALvsSAS Dallas Mavericks Feature NBA NBA Playoffs Vince Carter Vince Carter Game Winner

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