Hordes of LeBron James fans and NBA experts predicted that the Miami Heat would easily defeat the Dallas Mavericks in the 2011 NBA Finals. Yet the Mavericks proved Thursday night that when Dirk Nowitzki is on your side, there’s always a chance to outscore the opposition. Nowitzki’s left-handed layup with three seconds remaining was the difference as Dallas beat Miami, 95-93, to knot the NBA Finals at one game apiece.
Revenge of The Germanator
While Dirk Nowitzki is deserving of praise, FOX Sports’ Jason Whitlock may be going to far in comparing “The Germanator” to Larry Bird (aka Larry Legend). True, Dallas trailed Miami by 15 points with six minutes left in the final quarter of Game 2 of the NBA Finals, and Dirk Nowitzki answered the call, sparking a 22-5 Mavericks run that put the game to bed.
Nowitzki accomplished this with a bum finger on his left (non-shooting) hand. The German sharpshooter acknowledged to the Miami Herald before Game 2 that it would require adjustment on his part.
Bird won several NBA titles with the Boston Celtics, and in most of those years, he played with a bad back. Let’s see if Dirk Nowitzki wins his first ring before we christen him the second coming.
Dallas coach Carlisle sees Bird in Dirk
Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle, who played with Larry Bird for three seasons, understands what great players do in key moments: They play through pain.
“Guys like that don’t feel pain right now. You play, you play and if you’re feeling pain, you make yourself numb so you don’t feel pain,” Carlisle told sportswriters. “You’ve got to play, and you’ve got to be a warrior.”
‘They’re both obsessed assassins’
Maybe Whitlock has a point. First-hand accounts by Nowitzki’s teammates point to his drive and motivation to outdo the the Miami Heat.
“Big fella told me he had my back,” said Mavericks guard Jason Terry. “And he did. He came down and got the game-winning bucket.”
Having the will to win
Miami Heat is led by two impeccable NBA superstars in LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. Their all-around games are tremendous, but outside shooting comes and goes. When jump shots don’t fall, and the referees don’t give the Heat duo the benefit of the doubt on foul calls, their offense can fall out of synch.
James said as much after Game 2:
“I think offensively we just weren’t in a good rhythm. … Offensively, we’ve been out of rhythm before. At the end of the day, we hang our hats on our defense. … We’re up 15 — if they go on a 12-0 run for the rest of the game, if we don’t score another basket, we still win by three.”
The Germanator, for the win
Fox Sports: http://on-msn.com/l5INnZ
Miami Herald: http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/06/02/2246590/mavericks-dirk-nowitzki-injury.html
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