The Dallas Mavericks have struggled in the clutch for two consecutive seasons. Last year, they had the third-best overall net rating in the Western Conference but finished with the No. 7 seed thanks in large part to their 17-24 clutch record. They entered Wednesday with this season's worst clutch net rating at minus-19.4.
But fortunately for them, they have one of the NBA's ultimate late-game "get out of jail free" cards. Luka Doncic can create a good shot practically out of thin air, and he did just that at the end of Wednesday's 114-113 win over the Memphis Grizzlies. Down two with only seconds remaining, he inexplicably managed to split two Grizzlies defenders on a miracle runner 3-pointer for the victory.
The shot was actually quite important to Dallas in the grand scheme of things. The Mavericks currently hold the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference, and the Grizzlies are right behind them at No. 8. A Grizzlies victory would have tied the two teams in the loss column. Now, Dallas leads by two and is within striking distance of the Portland Trail Blazers at No. 6.
Getting to No. 6 is critical this season due to the league's new play-in round. Doncic has publicly shared his distaste for the format, but if he keeps making shots like this, his Mavericks will be able to avoid the round and walk right into the playoffs as a top-six team.