In the crowd of jubilation after his winning goal when the clock was running out, national basketball player Maxi Kleber briefly feared for his health, in the Dallas Mavericks dressing room he was again the focus of all celebrations.

“You get a water shower. It was extremely cold,” the Würzburger reported to the German Press Agency after scoring the last six points for his team in the Mavericks’ 111:110 against the Los Angeles Lakers and hitting the threesome that brought the decision. “When it went through the net, I was super hyper,” said Kleber. “Then I saw everyone running towards me and got into a bit of a defensive position. And then everyone was on top of me, like a mountain of meat, or as they say in German. That was definitely a special moment.”

Lob von Mavs-Coach Jason Kidd

Never before in his career had he managed such a throw, even with the Mavericks other players like the currently injured Luka Doncic or newcomer Kyrie Irving are usually responsible for something like that. But he was put through so much by national team captain Dennis Schröder and the Lakers that he only had a pass to Kleber as an option. The Texans’ number 42 jumped at the chance just a split second before the end. “Maxi was in the right place at the right time,” said Mavericks coach Jason Kidd, celebrating a brutally important win en route to the playoffs.

The Mavericks drew level with the Golden State Warriors in the fight for a direct ticket. They had previously lost to the Atlanta Hawks 119:127 – 31 points from Steph Curry were not enough for the defending champion. Because the Minnesota Timberwolves also lost 131:139 to the Chicago Bulls after two overtimes, the situation before the game was ideal for the Lakers to take a big step towards sixth place in the Western Conference. Due to their own defeat, the team slipped behind the Oklahoma City Thunder in tenth place and has to worry about participating in the play-in itself. Correspondingly frustrated, Schröder steamed towards the dressing room when the Mavericks pros formed a giant ball with glue on the floor in the arena.

The moment of luck was also particularly valuable for Kleber because two days earlier he had allowed an overtime against the San Antonio Spurs with two slight mistakes at the very end and after his more than two-month injury break he is not quite back in his rhythm. “I’ve had a very low low and a very high high back to back now,” he said. “It makes no difference how ugly or beautiful the wins are. We just have to find a way,” he demanded. For him to bring a happy ending to Hollywood City was a pretty awesome feeling.”