The Knicks have had their fair share of depressing losses this season and you can add another one to that list, as the endgame couldn't have unfolded any worse. With the score tied at 108, Anthony uncharacteristically hesitated during New York's final offensive possession. Instead of pulling the trigger himself, New York's All-Star forward decided to feed J.R. Smith, who was unable to launch a leaning mid-range jumper before the shot clock expired. That decision gave Dallas one final chance to break the tie.
Inbounding the ball from the left sideline with a little more than 10 seconds remaining, Vince Carter found Jose Calderon, who quickly passed it off to Nowitzki who was stationed just above the free-throw line. Milking the clock down to ensure there would be no time left after his attempt, Nowitzki pivoted in a circle as Anthony applied good ball pressure defense.
Once the clock hit three seconds, Nowitzki took a quick dribble to clear some space before launching a step-back jumper from 19 feet. The shot thudded hard against the backboard, bounced back to the front rim, spun high up in the air, and finally nestled through the hoop as the buzzer sounded.
“It hit the board, every part of the rim, [NBA logo] Jerry West and came back," Nowitzki said, according to the Dallas Morning News. "It was definitely an ugly, ugly shot, but I’m glad it went in.”
"It was a phenomenal shot; Carmelo Anthony was draped all over him," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle told ESPN. "The fact that he was even able to get it off was amazing. ... When you've worked as hard as he has, and as many years as he has, the bounces tend to go in your favor."
The improbable bank and bounce left the Madison Square Garden crowd dismayed and sent the Mavericks into an on-court mobbing of Nowitzki.
"I didn't even feel like celebrating, it was so ugly," the Mavericks' All-Star forward said, according to the Associated Press.
Nowitzki finished with 15 points (on 6-for-13 shooting), three assists and two steals. Carter led the Mavericks with 23 points (on 8-for-17 shooting), three rebounds and three assists.
Anthony tallied a game-high 44 points (on 14-for-29 shooting), nine rebounds and four assists. Smith added 15 points (on 7-for-16 shooting), seven assists and four rebounds off the bench in a losing effort. Dallas improved to 35-23 with the win. New York dropped to 21-36 with the loss.