DALLAS – Corey Brewer, the next man who will receive a Mavericks championship ring in a personal pregame ceremony, only played 23 minutes in last year’s playoffs.
But Brewer earned his ring, which he’ll receive tonight before his Nuggets face the Mavs at the American Airlines Center, and every penny that Mark Cuban paid him during an unforgettable eight-minute stint of Game 1 against the Lakers.
"That period in that game that he played may have been as important a period of time as any player played in the playoffs,” coach Rick Carlisle said.
That isn’t an exaggeration. The skinny swingman sparked a stunning comeback against the Lakers that set the tone for a West semifinals sweep of the two-time defending champions. It could be argued that Brewer’s stint was the moment the Mavs began truly believing they were championship material.
The Lakers had gone on a 21-2 run, spanning the two halves, to open up a 16-point lead less than two minutes into the third quarter. The Staples Center was roaring, a sellout crowd surely believing a rout was in progress.
Carlisle turned to Brewer out of desperation. The game, series and Dallas’ destiny changed immediately.
Brewer sparked a 17-4 spurt, contributing five points, a rebound, a steal and an assist while defending Kobe Bryant. The Lakers pushed the lead back to five points by the time Brewer returned to the bench, but the Mavs outscored the Lakers by 11 points in his stint, setting the stage for their comeback win.
Brewer, who signed with the Mavs after clearing waivers in early March and was shipped to Denver in a salary dump in December, didn’t play much during his brief time in Dallas. But he left his mark on the franchise with an unforgettable, unexpected stint at the Staples Center.