Why Lakers fans were thrilled with Max Strus buzzer-beater to defeat the Mavs

Max Strus' contested game-winning shot against Dallas gives Lakers fans hope.

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Last night's meeting between the Dallas Mavericks and Cleveland Cavaliers was one to remember. Luka Doncic finished with 45 points, 14 assists and 9 rebounds — one board away from grabbing what would've been his 11th triple-double of this season. In his return to Cleveland, Kyrie Irving had 30 points. The most impressive performance of the night, however, came from Max Strus.

Max Strus hits historic shot and helps Lakers in standings

Despite impressive performances by Irving and Doncic, the Dallas Mavericks still lost to the Cavaliers 119-121 and the reason was Max Strus. Strus had 21 points and showed up big late in the game for Cleveland. Five of Max Strus' seven 3-pointers came in the final four minutes of the fourth quarter, including a 59-foot buzzer beater to win the game.

Strus told ESPN that the play wasn't designed, it just unfolded, and he knew it was good the second it left his hands. This shot by Strus was the second-longest game-winner in the 3-point era.

Cavs fans weren't the only ones cheering Strus on, though. After the Mavs' recent loss, Lakers fans salivated over the possibility of moving up the standings. Thanks to Strus, the Mavericks have fallen to 33-25 and are now eighth in the Western Conference. To give you an idea of how much one game matters here, per ESPN's latest power rankings, "when the Mavs' seven-game winning streak was snapped Sunday in Indianapolis, Dallas slipped from fifth to eighth in the standings." In other words, could this be the Lakers chance to pounce?

After last night's performance, you could say that any Lakers fan is now a Max Strus fan by default. The Mavericks now find themselves in a four-team battle between the Sacramento Kings, the Golden State Warriors, and the Los Angeles Lakers for the West's final two guaranteed playoff spots. The Lakers currently sit in 10th place, 2.5 games behind the Mavericks. Hopefully, with plenty of games left to go before the playoffs, Darvin Ham and the Lakers can build off the momentum Strus just provided.

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