Maxi Kleber proved to be the hero for the Dallas Mavericks on Friday night, as he knocked down the game-winning shot to down the Los Angeles Lakers. The Mavericks found themselves with the ball, down by two points with 6.7 seconds left to play.
Theo Pinson inbounded the ball to Kyrie Irving, who drove towards the basket and drew two defenders. Irving then stopped, quickly kicked a pass out to Kleber, who drilled a 3-pointer at the death to stun the Lakers crowd.
The sequence instantly went viral, with the highlight being tweeted out all over, and fans, as well as players, reacting to the clutch shot from Kleber.
Former Mavericks forward, Kristaps Porzingis, was happy to see his old teammate score the big bucket to beat L.A.
“Maxiii ftw (for the win),” Porzingis tweeted, followed by three fire emojis. “What a shot.”
The seven-foot three-inch Latvian spent over two seasons with the Mavericks. Porzingis suited up for Dallas in 134 games, playing about 30.9 minutes each time. The former No. 4 overall pick averaged 20 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks while playing for the Mavs.
Kyrie Irving Breaks Down Mavericks Game-Winner
Following Dallas’ 111-110 win in L.A., the man who set up the game-winning shot, Irving, broke down his thought process during the final play.
“It seemed like three of them were around me at the end of the game,” Irving said via the NBA Interviews YouTube channel. “But I’m just grateful that I was able to have my head on the swivel. I thought about, for a split second, forcing that two up to tie the basketball game. But I saw Maxi open. I saw AD [Anthony Davis] kind of helping a little too much. So, I tried to get it into his shot pocket, and I’m glad I got it to him with enough time to at least get the shot off. I could easily be sitting in this position with a loss. It was just that type of game. But I’m glad we were resilient. We got really lucky and fortunate at the end of regulation tonight, so I’m glad it worked out for us.”
Irving looked comfortable in his first game since March 8. The 30-year-old tallied 38 points, six rebounds, and six assists. He was efficient as well, shooting 14-of-23 from the field and 5-of-9 from beyond the arc.
Anthony Davis Sounds Off on Kyrie Irving After Mavs Win
Dallas wouldn’t have been in position to win the game if it hadn’t been for Anthony Davis. With seven seconds left to play, the Lakers were up four points. Davis then fouled Kleber, who was shooting a 3-pointer, and gifted him three attempts from the line. The Mavs big man made all three and cut L.A.’s lead to just one point.
On the other end, it was then Davis who was fouled. He was only able to knock down one of his two free throws, putting the Lakers up by two.
The cap it off, he collapse on Irving during the final sequence, leaving Kleber wide-open for the dagger.
After his team’s tough loss, Davis detailed his thinking on the last defensive possession.
“With seven seconds, he [Irving] dribbled almost the whole clock out,” Davis said via the NBA Interviews YouTube channel. “Me just reading him. Knowing that he’s probably going to take the last shot. He goes into his actual shooting motion and just comes down with it. He doesn’t shoot it. So, when he goes up [and] it kind of pulled me in. I was going for the rebound. Thought he was shooting it. He made a pass to Kleber. He makes the shot.”