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'Most Skilled Ever!’ Kyrie Irving ‘Special’ Shot: Dallas Mavs & NBA World React

Damian Lillard and Jalen Brunson were among the NBA figures in awe of Kyrie Irving's game-winning shot with his left hand in the Dallas Mavericks' 107-105 win over the Denver Nuggets.

Few players can leave fans and fellow NBA lost for words like Dallas Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving, but his game-winning shot against the Denver Nuggets on Sunday may have been his best act yet. 

With 2.8 seconds left in a tied game, Mavs forward Maxi Kleber in-bounded the ball to Irving. The dynamic guard made a mad dash toward the basket with Nuggets center and two-time MVP Nikola Jokic hot on his heels. After taking a brief glimpse at the shot clock, Irving took the shot with his off hand near the free throw and Jokic's hand in his face. 

The left-handed floater found nothing but net at the buzzer, sending the American Airlines Center into a euphoric roar. The reactions from Irving's teammates alternated from disbelief with hands on their heads to storming the court to celebrate his heroics in the aftermath of a 107-105 win over Denver on St. Patrick's Day.  

"I thought I got a little closer in the paint but when I looked at it after the game, I was pretty far out," Irving said of his buzzer-beater. "[Those are] shots that I work on and just being ambidextrous and being able to trust the skills that I work on when no one is watching and fortunate enough, it went in tonight."

Irving added on his decision-making with his shot selection: "The majority of it is instinctual. It comes from preparation again for hours that no one sees. I saw Jokic taking away my pull-up going left. I had hit one or two tonight so I knew he was going to come up, but I didn't know he was going to commit like that. He was forcing me inside the 3-point line and as soon as I felt him behind me, I was like 'Oh, I have my left hand [and] it's wide open, so why not go to it?' And that's the way I saw it." 

Kyrie Irving after his game-winning shot.

Kyrie Irving after his game-winning shot.

Irving did it all offensively for Dallas (39-29), scoring 24 points with nine assists and seven rebounds. His heroics were set up by fellow superstar guard, Luka Doncic, who hit the game-tying 3-pointer with 25 seconds left in the game. After a one-game absence due to a hamstring injury that made him questionable heading into Sunday's matchup vs. Denver (47-21), he finished the game with 37 points, nine rebounds and three assists. 

Doncic sang Irving's praises, noting how difficult it was to make the shot he made to win the game. 

"Unbelievable man, I don’t think people realize how tough of a shot that it is with the off-hand,” Doncic said... "I don't think we'll see it again. That guy is special."

Doncic wasn't the only player in disbelief over Irving's acrobatic shot. Former Dallas Mavericks guard and current New York Knicks star Jalen Brunson had high praise for Irving's shot.

Milwaukee Bucks guard Damian Lillard echoed a sentiment that many have come to say when it comes to Irving's game. 

Former NBA guard and ESPN analyst Jay Williams was on the same wavelength as Lillard when speaking about Irving on Get Up. 

"The most skilled player in the history of basketball," Williams vehemently said. "Come at me [and] say whatever the hell you want, there is no player in the game of basketball as skilled [as Irving]."

ESPN host of First Take, Stephen A. Smith, took to X to say that Irving's game-winner is what the Mavs guard does in big moments. Smith also said Irving's shot and Doncic's game-tying 3-pointer is why he's rooting for the Mavs to make a deep playoff run and NBA fans should follow suit.

"That what Kyrie Irving does," Smith wrote. "A left-handed floater over [Jokic] from the free throw line at the buzzer to lift [the Mavs] over the Nuggets. And this….AFTER Luka Doncic's deep-3 tied it. This is special…..exactly why we should root to see Mavs advance deep into the playoffs. I know I’m rooting for them to do so."

With the win, Dallas moved up to the seventh seed in a loaded Western Conference. The Mavs are a win or a Sacramento Kings loss away from moving up to the sixth seed and being in position to avoid the play-in tournament. The Mavs and Kings face each other in back-to-back games in Sacramento on March 26 and the 29th.

When the Mavs acquired Irving last season, it was for moments like the one he had on Sunday. If Irving can continue to show up in the game's biggest moments and be the No. 2 option Dallas and Doncic needs, the Mavs could be one of the NBA's most dangerous teams entering the playoffs.