Cavaliers’ Max Strus Hits 59-Foot Buzzer-Beater in Win Over Mavericks

Cleveland Cavaliers Max Strus Hits 59-Foot Buzzer-Beater in Win Over Mavericks

USA Today Network

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Max Strus drained a 59-footer as time expired, his fifth made 3-pointer in the final four minutes, to give his team a crazy 121-119 win over the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday night.

Dallas’ P.J. Washington made a go-ahead dunk with 2.9 seconds left. The Cavaliers then inbounded the ball to Evan Mobley, who passed back to Strus, who had made four 3s in a span of 67 seconds.

Strus dribbled for a second before launching his shot from beyond midcourt. As soon as it went in, Strus was tackled to the floor by teammates as the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse crowd erupted.

Per multiple NBA betting sites, the Cavaliers hold ninth-shortest odds to win the championship. Sportsbooks are showing better odds for the Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks, and New York Knicks.

“At the end of the day, we have a guy like Max Strus,” Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen said. “Anything is possible.”

According to the Basketball-Reference database, Strus is the fourth player in the past 25 seasons to make five 3s in the final four minutes of a game. It was the second-longest game-winning buzzer-beater in the 3-point era (1979-80).

Devonte’ Graham’s 61-footer in the New Orleans Pelicans‘ 113-110 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Dec. 15, 2021, still tops the list. However, both shots were not as long as Jerry Harkness’ full court heave in the ABA.

“He was the guy,” Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff said of Strus. “That’s one of the things, that we’re fortunate with this group, is on any given night, we’ve got a guy who can step up and make huge plays.”

Cleveland Cavaliers’ Max Strus made the second-longest game-winning buzzer-beater in 3-point era

Strus, 27, ended his fun-filled performance with 21 points, four rebounds and assists, and two blocks in 25 minutes as a starter. He shot 7-of-12 (58.3%) from the field and 7-of-10 (70%) from deep.

His seven 3s matched his season high set in Cleveland’s season opener at Brooklyn on Oct. 25.

Although Cavs fans were stunned, Strus wasn’t as impressed by his 59-foot 3-pointer. He made an even longer game-winning shot in college while playing for Lewis University in Illinois.

“Yeah, at my Division II school, I made a three-quarter-court shot to win the game,” he said.

When Strus was asked how he drained the shot, the five-year veteran gave a humbling response.

“I don’t know. Donovan [Mitchell] was out of the game, so somebody else had to step up,” Strus said in his on-court postgame interview with Bally Sports. “I got lucky.”

Mitchell ended his outing with 31 points, seven rebounds, six assists, and a block in 38 minutes of action. He finished 11-of-20 (55%) shooting from the floor and 7-of-11 (63.6%) from 3-point range.

“I didn’t feel like it was going to be that far off. I had a feeling it was going to be close,” Mitchell said about Strus’ last-second shot. “Just to see it go through, especially with what he did for us in the fourth … it had to be him. You dream of a shot like that.”

The Cavaliers (38-19) improved to 12-3 since Jan. 26.

Cleveland is at Chicago on Wednesday.