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Mavs 2011 Playoffs Rewind: Corey Brewer helps Dallas steal game one at the Staples Center

Photo Credit: “2011 NBA Champions Dallas Mavericks” by Michael Tipton, used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Mavs 2011 Playoffs Rewind: Corey Brewer helps Dallas steal game one at the Staples Center

As the NBA playoffs treat us with an impressive slate of entertaining games every single night, us Mavs fans have nothing to enjoy from our team except memories of past playoff success.  This year makes it seven long years since the incredible run by Dirk Nowitzki and company in the spring of 2011.  In order to help the MFFL feel a little more involved in this year’s playoffs, Dallas Sports Fanatic is going to look back on the notable games of the 2011 run to the NBA championship.

Every time I daydream in the middle of the work day about the Mavs’ magical 2011 run, this is the game that stands out to me more than any other.  Plain and simply: Dallas doesn’t advance past this round if they don’t win game one of this series and in the gutsy fashion they did.

When people remember this series, they probably just remember that it ended up being a convincing sweep concluded by the iconic “Mother’s Day Massacre” that might be a top five victory in franchise history.  People probably forget that games one and game three were decided by three and six points, respectively, and that game one on the road required the Mavericks coming back from a 16 point deficit.

Putting a little more context on the game/series:

These were the back-to-back NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers.  They finished second in the West standings with 58 wins, one ahead of the third place Mavericks with 57, and were the favorites to win it all after the top seed San Antonio Spurs fell unexpectedly in the first round to the eighth seeded Memphis Grizzlies.

Even though Dirk Nowitzki and Kobe Bryant had never met in the playoffs, some of the lowest moments of Nowitzki’s accomplished-but-questioned career had occurred at the Staples Center.  One game from the very early stages of my Mavericks fandom was the gut-wrenching game in December 2002 where Dallas blew a 27 point fourth quarter lead to the Shaq and Kobe Lakers.

Of course no true MFFL in their 20s can possibly forget the night where Kobe Bryant alone outscored the Mavericks through three quarters (62-61).  It was an embarrassment of the highest order and if it weren’t historic, I would’ve turned the TV off in disgust.

With those past failures in mind, Dallas fought hard in the first half and led by three heading into the final three minutes of the first half.  Kobe Bryant and the Lakers would go on a 16-4 run to close the half and go to the locker room up 53-44.  This wasn’t without Dirk Nowitzki becoming slightly unhinged and picking up a technical foul on a questionable call right before the buzzer.

Things didn’t get too much better as the Lakers would go on to score the first seven points of the third quarter to take their seminal 60-44 lead with 10:39 left in the frame.

Enter the most unlikely of heroes: Corey Brewer.

The 25-year-old was signed by the Mavericks late in the regular season after the New York Knicks waived him after receiving him as a part of the Carmelo Anthony trade.  Brewer struggled to break into Rick Carlisle’s rotation after joining so far into the season and only saw the court for less than four minutes in the team’s opening round series against Portland, but for some reason Coach Carlisle thought the team needed him when they were down by 16 in the third quarter of game one against the Lakers.

While Brewer only played around 8 minutes in the third and only scored five points, his impact on this game was immeasurable.  His +11 plus/minus rating was the best of any Maverick that night and he was key in the 20-6 run Dallas went on the get themselves right back into the game they eventually won in a highly contested fourth quarter.

Obviously games like games two, four and five of the NBA Finals that year stand out as bigger wins in ultimately sealing the deal for the Mavs in 2011, but this one always stayed with me as one that set the tone for the remainder of their postseason run.

In an alternate reality, the Mavs don’t come back in game one of this series.  Let’s say they don’t even make the game interesting and lose by 20+ points.  The Mavericks don’t just take the next four games and move on.  They got their butts kicked in game one of a playoff series against the two-time defending champions and now have to steal a game on their court just to save themselves from being down 2-0 in a series they obviously aren’t supposed to win.

Another thing so magical about the 2011 title run is how every. single. player seemed to have their own special moment that lifted the team when they needed it most.  Peja Stojakovic nailing all those threes in game four of the Lakers series.  Brian Cardinal injuring Dwyane Wade with his rock hard thigh in the Finals.  Ian Mahinmi draining that third quarter buzzer beater to continue to sway the momentum to the good side in their closeout win in game six of the Finals.  Game one of the Lakers series was Corey Brewer’s moment.

Editor-in-Chief for Dallas Fanatic| Born and raised in Dallas, I received my Bachelor's Degree from the University of North Texas in 2014 after majoring in Radio/TV/Film. I'm a lover of all sports and support every DFW team. For random sports and other thoughts, find me on Twitter: @DylanDuell

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