Mavericks Lose to Second-Farthest Buzzer Beater in NBA History [WATCH]

Dallas Mavericks coach Jason Kidd

Getty Dallas Mavericks coach Jason Kidd looks on from the sidelines during a game on February 14

The Dallas Mavericks suffered a crushing loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on February 27 thanks to a 59-foot buzzer-beater from Max Strus. The Cavs – down by one with 2.9 seconds left in the contest – didn’t have any timeouts left and had no option but to inbound the ball to Evan Mobley, who quickly fed the hot hand of Strus. With zero hesitation, Strus would launch from well beyond midcourt.

Mobley was justified to pass the ball to Strus, who had drained four threes down the stretch to keep the Cavs alive. Overall, Strus went 5/5 from deep in the final four minutes, producing one of the best clutch performances by any player this season. He also became only the fourth player in 25 seasons to make five threes in the final four minutes of a game, per ESPN Stats & Information.

After Strus’ hail mary swished the net, a host of his elated teammates tackled him to the floor as the crowd at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse came unglued. However, on the other side of the bench, the heartbroken Mavs knew they let one slip away. The live reaction from Markieff Morris summed up their heartbreaking loss.

Mavs Have no Reason to be Disheartened

Despite the loss, the Mavericks proved again why they’re a legitimate threat to represent the Western Conference in the NBA Finals in June. Just consider that the Cavs, who had won 20 of their previous 24 games, were -3.5 points betting favorites going into the contest, and were outscoring teams by nearly 10 points in the month of February. That the Mavs even took the Cavs to the wire was a testament to their team hitting their stride just 50 days or so before the postseason.

After the game, Mavs star Kyrie Irving acknowledged that his team just lost to a miraculous shot.

“I can honestly say this is the first time I’ve lost on a half-court shot,” Irving said, via The Athletic. “Just someone shooting it three-quarter court and it going all net, not touching anything. So it’s an unfortunate circumstance. We executed down the stretch, we gave ourselves a chance to win the ballgame.”

Mavs coach Jason Kidd echoed those sentiments, admitting that his team had no reason to feel dejected.

“We put ourselves in a position to beat one of the best teams in the league, not just in the Eastern Conference, but in the league, and came up short,” he said, via The Athletic.

What’s Next for the Mavs?

While the loss presented the eighth-seeded Dallas with another obstacle in their way of avoiding a play-in game, they have reason to be optimistic. The Mavs have won eight of their last ten games, four of which came after they acquired P.J. Washington and Daniel Gafford on February 8. Many analysts believe the Mavs addressed a lot of their concerns — especially lack of size and defense — through those acquisitions at the NBA trade deadline, and are poised to make a run during the homestretch of the season.

NBA analyst Kendrick Perkins feels Luka Doncic, who leads the league in scoring 34.5 points per game, is a player coaches don’t want to encounter in the West playoffs.

“I feel like Luka is the most dangerous player in the Western Conference,” Perkins said on the February 26 episode of “First Take” on ESPN. “…When I look at the Western Conference, no team wants to face that duo of Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic.”

The Mavs (33-25) are currently just a game behind the Suns (34-24) for the sixth seed in the West. By securing a top-6 seed, they would avoid going through the play-in tournament and thereby secure an easier path to a potential deep postseason run.

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