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The end of Sunday's battle between the Dallas Mavericks and Denver Nuggets felt like a fairly by-the-numbers contest between the NBA's clutch kings and a team that is still proving itself in the biggest moments. Dallas took a double-digit lead midway through the fourth quarter against Denver's bench, but when the big boys returned, the Nuggets regained control. 

A 13-point lead with 6:50 remaining evaporated in under six minutes as Nikola Jokic tied things up by posting up Luka Doncic and scoring with 1:05 remaining. Jamal Murray followed up a Doncic miss with what looked like a dagger 3-pointer. Doncic answered with a 3-pointer of his own, and after Murray missed with 4.1 seconds left, Dallas called timeout to set up its own game-winner.

With Doncic serving as a decoy at the top of the arc, Kyrie Irving curled around a P.J. Washington screen to catch the ball in the corner. Jokic immediately switched onto him, a dangerous matchup with so little on the clock because of how much range his size gives him to contest quick shots. As such, Irving had no angle to attempt a shot right-handed. So instead, he threw up a left-handed runner that almost turned into a hook shot... and it sank. Mavericks win, 107-105.

The angle from the court is even crazier. Irving had to desperately improvise a viable shot with practically no time on the clock, and he still managed to deliver the Mavericks a victory.

The shot was critical for Dallas on several levels. First, the Mavericks are in a tight battle for seeding in the Western Conference standings. Had they lost, they would have fallen behind the Phoenix Suns and down to the No. 8 seed. Instead, at 39-29, they remain a half-game behind the No. 6 seeded Sacramento Kings. Getting into the top six is the goal for Dallas right now as the play-in, which would currently feature Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry and LeBron James, has the potential to be extremely precarious.

But perhaps even more importantly, the Mavericks just took punch after punch from the defending champions without falling down. This is a team that collapsed so badly down the stretch last season that it didn't even reach the play-in stage. What the Nuggets did to the Mavericks for most of the final seven minutes on Sunday was fairly standard Nuggets fare. When they decide to beat you late in a game, they typically beat you.

But Doncic and Irving didn't lose their cool when the Nuggets took their three-point lead. They both calmly hit critical shots to stun the defending champions. The theory of this team is based on the Doncic-Irving partnership outscoring anyone late in big games. On Sunday, they delivered. This is what makes Dallas so dangerous. Their second-best player is perfectly capable of stealing wins out of thin air with miraculous shots like this.