I may be the only bloggissist in America not talking about an innocent fire extinguisher on South Beach today. I like to be different.
What’s on my mind is a moment in the first half of last night’s Dallas-Oklahoma City game.
Dirk Nowitzki, after being slapped in the face on a jumpshot by Serge Ibaka (and no foul called) went straight for the Congo-man downcourt and gave him a subtle but effective shoulder in the back. I was shocked…..and impressed.
A few possessions later, Nowtizki was then targeted by Kendrick Perkins and his patented “pick on the tall European” act. I was sure Dirk would pull a Pau Gasol and walk straight for the refs. But no, instead we got Darko Milicic…..retaliation.
Nowtizki has Hall of Fame bullet points all up and down his resume: multiple All-Star games…an NBA MVP (as well as Finals MVP) trophy…even a world championship. But all that paled in comparison to what he showed me last night.
Remember back in 2008 when David West of the Hornets shoved Nowtizki 6 feet then put his finger in his face like the lanky German did something wrong? I do…and I’ll never forget how Dirk folded like a lawn chair.
It was embarrassing.
Well, when Dirk gave Perkins a hard elbow to the chest last night it validated his career in my eyes. I don’t care how skilled you are or how hard you work on your game, if you let guys beat on you and push you around then you’re no better than Christian Laettner…..just another a really nice player.
Sure, the Mavericks fell behind after the Perkins incident, but Nowitzki took over offensively ending up with 20 points at the half. When the second half started with him shooting two quick free throws I knew that there was a different Dirk in Mav blue.
I particularly enjoyed the rest of the game where he chose to back guys down rather than face them up…..going to the up-n-under as opposed to the step-back jumper.
The result was OKC being over the foul limit with an entire 8:50 left to go in the 3rd. It was a parade to the free thrown line for Dallas…Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’neal must’ve been proud. Just like those legendary bigmen he put the other team in foul trouble so everyone else on the team could eat.
In crunch time Rick Carlisle insisted on going to Jason Terry (aka ‘Cut the Check’) to try and tie the game. Dirk didn’t show it but he must’ve been fuming inside.
Will the Mavs come back to win this series trailing 0-2? it’ll be a long shot. But I expect Dirk Nowtizki to have a historic Game 3 in Dallas.
He’ll put the entire team on his back…..and maybe even a couple of Thunder ‘bigs’ on theirs too.
Dirk finally gets it.