Cavs' Max Strus nails 59-foot game-winning shot to shock Mavericks


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Cleveland Cavaliers forward Max Strus averages nearly three made 3-pointers per game, and the most crucial make of the season came Tuesday night against the Dallas Mavericks.

The sequence began with 8.3 seconds remaining in the game and Dallas in-bounding the ball from the far sideline. Luka Doncic recovered a loose ball and found P.J. Washington under the basket for an easy lay-up and a one-point lead with 2.6 seconds left on the clock.

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Cleveland Cavaliers guard Max Strus, #1, watches his game-winning basket, next to Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic, #77, at the buzzer in an NBA basketball game on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Strus took the ball out of bounds. He passed it to Evan Mobley before receiving it back. From 59-feet, Stus launched a desperate prayer toward the basket.

And it went in.

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Strus’ Cavaliers teammates mobbed him after the shot as the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse was jubilant. Cleveland won the game 121-119.

Strus said afterward he knew he had to get the ball up in the air and knew the ball was going to go into the basket as it left his hands.

“The last five felt pretty good,” he said. “I felt a rhythm, and it’s fun when you do that. Every time I shot it, I felt like it was going in, and it was. Same with the last one.”

Max Strus celebrates

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Max Strus, right, is doused by teammates as they celebrate his game-winning basket against the Dallas Mavericks in an NBA basketball game on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

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Donovan Mitchell added 31 points to Strus’ 21.

“Man, just to see it go through, especially what he did for us in the fourth, it had to be him, too,” Mitchell said. “You dream of a shot like that. So for him to get that after what he did for us, the whole fourth quarter, man.”

Strus’ game-winner is the second-longest game-winner in the 3-point era. Devonte Graham made a 61-foot 3-pointer for the New Orleans Pelicans in 2021 against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

With the win, Cleveland improved to 38-19 with a slight edge over the Milwaukee Bucks for the second seed in the Eastern Conference.

Dallas fell to 33-25 and are eighth in the Western Conference.

Max Strus shoots

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Max Strus, #1, makes a three-point basket beside Dallas Mavericks forward Tim Hardaway Jr., #10, in the fourth quarter at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland on Feb. 27, 2024. (David Richard-USA TODAY Sports)

“What he did tonight was absolutely ridiculous to come back in that fourth quarter for us to be down the way we were,” Cleveland coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “But that’s who Max is. And it’s as simple sometimes as chasing down a loose ball or making an extra rotation. Max never quits and we were down and he had the same mentality.

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“He wasn’t going to quit and he just kept making play after play after play on both ends.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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