Credit: Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports
Previous Top Game – Honorable Mention
#5- Mavericks 108, Blazers 106 FINAL (Dec. 7)
The Dallas Mavericks were 20 games deep into the 2013-14 season, and their record stood at a respectable 12-8.
Portland, on the other hand, was the league’s most surprising team with a remarkable 17-3 record.
Monta Ellis came to Dallas in the offseason, in hopes to give the Mavericks the No. 2 scorer they had been looking for since the championship season.
Just a year prior, Mark Cuban signed Darren Collison, O.J. Mayo and Chris Kaman to one-year deals, and since Dirk Nowitzki missed the first 27 games of the season due to knee surgery, the move didn’t quite pan out the way Cuban had hoped.
Mayo, who was in Ellis’ spot, was the team’s best scorer before Dirk’s arrival, but the two weren’t able to quite co-exist on the floor when Nowitzki was well on his way, hence, the Mavericks finished 41-41 and missed out on the playoffs, a rarity in the Big D.
Fast forward to Oct. 30. It’s the season opener for Dallas. The Mavs are hosting Al Horford and the Atlanta Hawks.
One could say that Ellis would be a bit nervous playing in front of a new fan base, but it looked as if Ellis had been playing in a Mavericks’ jersey for his whole career.
Despite seven turnovers, Ellis was brilliant against the Hawks, finishing 11-of-17 from the field for 32 points and dished out eight dimes.
Ellis had a great first quarter, hitting his first two shots and scored 11 as Dallas led by five after one.
Through 20 games, Ellis was just as good as advertised, scoring 21.6 points per game which included three 30-point games and 13 20-point games.
We set the scene. It’s Dec. 7 and the site is Portland, Oregon. The Mavericks are facing off with the NBA-leading 17-3 Trail Blazers on NBATV.
Nowitzki scored a team-high 30 points and added six rebounds and seven assists, but as the case of the Knicks game in our honorable mention post, the ball doesn’t always find the leading scorer when it matters most.
That’s where Ellis steps into the picture.
Dallas took a three-point lead into the fourth and led 106-100 after Ellis’ basket with 45 seconds left.
After proving that they were the best team in the league to this point, the Blazers didn’t go home quietly. Back-to-back 3-pointers by Nicolas Batum and Damian Lillard tied the game up with 1.9 remaining.
The Mavs had one final chance, if not, the game would go to overtime.
The broadcasters suspected Dallas would get it to Nowitzki or Vince Carter, but Jose Calderon found a cutting Ellis, who caught it at the left wing, took one dribble and took his shot just inside the arc on the right wing.
Wesley Matthews was guarding Ellis, but just wasn’t quick enough as Ellis drained the buzzer beater and was immediately mobbed by the entire team.
STAY TUNED FOR THE #4 BEST GAME OF THE DALLAS MAVERICKS’ SEASON……