As the Mavs prepare for tonight's Game 5 clincher at American Airlines Center, a cardiac comparison:
Down 15 with 5:06 to play. On the road. Game 4 of the 2011 Western Conference Finals.
Or down 6, 1:47 to play. At home (sorta). Game 5 in the first round of the 1984 NBA Playoffs.
The Red River Rally vs. Moody Madness. Which is the most improbable playoff victory in Mavericks' history?
The sheer stats and situation suggest it was Monday night's triumph in OKC.
The Mavs became the first team since 1986 to win a playoff game with a minus-22 rebounding disadvantage. And, more amazing, the Mavericks became the first -- that's right, the only -- team in 4,970 attempts to rally from 15 down in the last five minutes of an NBA regular-season or playoff game.
Chokelahoma was impressive.
But some of us remember Moody Madness as the craziest night in franchise history.
In '84 the Mavs had coach Dick Motta, a star named Mark Aguirre and their first winning season. The franchise's virginal playoff series (first rounds were best-of-5 back then) was knotted at 2-2 when logistics threw the NBA a historical curveball.
The old World Championship Tennis tournament had long been booked at 4-year-old Reunion Arena because surely the Mavs wouldn't need it in late April. So the game was shoved into SMU's Moody Coliseum and shown only on pay-per-view on Home Sports Entertainment.
A crowd of 9,007 was treated to madness at Moody.
The Sonics led 93-86 with just two minutes left, but Pat Cummings hit two free throws and Rolando Blackman had a steal-and-dunk and a last-second, 15-foot jumper to force overtime. In the extra period the Mavs led 105-104 with one second remaining when Motta instructed Jay Vincent to simply throw the ball off of inbound defender Tom Chambers. Mission accomplished, the Mavs and fans stormed the court and players ran off to SMU's cramped locker room with their first playoff series win.
Hold that thought.
Officials were confused about the clock starting or not and -- after a 14-minute delay -- called players back on to the court to replay the final second. With one exception. Somehow Seattle was givien possession of the ball. Chambers actually caught Vincent's attempt and fired a desperation heave at the basket, and the refs determined that Seattle called timeout during the frenzy.
Can you imagine Mark Cuban injected into that scenario?
Some fans had left. Players were summoned from the shower. Seattle tried a lob attempt that Aguirre broke up at the second last buzzer, and Moody Madness was re-hatched.
That '84 team lost to the Lakers in the second round. If these '11 Mavs win an NBA title, certainly the Red River Rally will grow in legend.
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