Max Strus’ 59-foot buzzer beater over Luka Dončić lifts Cavaliers past Mavericks

The best pass of Evan Mobley’s life, the worst tackle of Caris LeVert’s and only the second-best buzzer beater to win a game in Max Strus’ nearly 28 years on this planet, according to the Athletic.

Strus unleashed a 59-footer just before time expired, drained it and thereby lifted his Cavaliers to a thrilling 121-119 win over the Dallas Mavericks. That’s a shot several steps behind the half-court line, and, according to ESPN Stats and Info, the second-longest game-winning shot at the buzzer in NBA history.

“I did,” Strus said when asked if he knew his shot was going to be good. “I don’t even know what happened next.”

Well, Max, you went sprinting toward your own basket in a state of euphoria and shock. LeVert chased you down and tried to wrap you up, but the video replay shows you brought him down as much as he tackled you. The Cavs, kind of, avoided an actual dogpile, but most of Strus’ teammates were hovering over him, shouting who knows what — in total disbelief over what they just saw.

“I don’t know what I said on the mic (after the game),” said Donovan Mitchell, who was not in the game for Strus’ game-winner. “If Bally Sports has it, please make sure it’s edited.”

The final 30 seconds of this game were drunk. It began with Mitchell banging a 3 for a 118-115 advantage. Kyrie Irving, the former Cavalier who has the greatest shot in franchise history, buried a short jumper with 23.8 seconds left — which of course gave the Cavs back the ball, with the shot clock off. Dallas didn’t need to foul right away and elected to apply pressure, nearly tying up Darius Garland for a jump ball on a play in which Cleveland insisted Garland was fouled. The Cavs used their final timeout to save the possession, but coming out of it, Mobley threw the ball away.

The Mavericks, predictably, looked for Luka Dončić (game high 45 points, 14 assists, nine rebounds), but Maxi Kleber’s pass was nearly intercepted by Mobley. Dončić corralled it, and rather than shooting it himself, he passed to an open P.J. Washington for a layup with 2.6 seconds left.

“I was like, damn, deflated, because I don’t expect Max to make a full-court shot,” Mitchell said. “But at the end of the day, that’s why you play to the final seconds.”

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