Should We Be Surprised?

31 03 2012

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Time winding down. Mid-range post-up. One-legged, wrong-legged, fade-away jumper to win the game. Tongue.

Dirk Nowitzki made a bank shot with 5.9 seconds left, giving the Dallas Mavericks (30-23) a 100-98 victory over the Orlando Magic (32-20).

Jason Terry decided not to wear a headband for the game tonight and started off slowly. However, once the Big German’s right hand man put his normally worn gear back on his head, the superstition Terry has had his entire career was bolstered as the sixth man scored 10 straight points in the fourth quarter.

Even though these two had the obvious big nights, the Mavs would not have been able to erase their 15-point deficit if it wasn’t for Delonte West‘s exceptional play. He had 15 points and five assists as he helped provide a big punch off the bench that the squad has missed since he went down with a broken finger. This doesn’t bode well for Rodrigue Beaubois, who Carlisle decided not to play against Orlando.

The Mavs as a team worked for this win, but this game was all about No. 41 and his consistency with big-time shots.

How many times has Dirk hit a shot just like this?

He might currently be the best late-game player in the entire league. Kobe Bryant has also made his fair share of clutch shots but he has put over 5000 more shots than Dirk. His tendency to shoot so many shots gives him a high likelihood of hitting game-winners with his superior level of play.

Dwyane Wade and Kevin Durant both have a knack for making big shots, but they have to share their shots with their other all-star teammates that crave the ball in their hands – LeBron James and Russell Westbrook. (LeBron James fourth quarter jokes can occur at another time.)

It has to be Dirk. Before last year’s championship, many couldn’t get the 2006 and 2007 playoffs out of the back of their minds when thinking of the power forward. With his run in those playoffs, Nowitzki helped his career image be correctly portrayed as clutch. His ability to hit a shot at any angle, off any leg and from anywhere on the court makes him extremely difficult to defend in late-game situations. The multitude of game-winning shots Dirk has had during his career supports this notion.

Being compared to Larry Bird should be a flattering correlation, correct? Dirk has actually been slightly hurt because of this comparison.

For the early part of his career, the sports media fed America the idea that this lanky German was attempting to be like Larry Legend and also could only hit 3-pointers. As Dirk has continued to diversify his game and build his resume during the past 13 years, the “Dirk vs. Larry” games still continue. It feels as though Nowitzki sometimes stands in this spotlight that he will never be able to avoid. Many NBA purists end up putting Bird ahead of Nowitzki because they will (most likely) never put any player above Bird.

The correct answer should be that Dirk has separated himself from the Celtics legend. He has created a legacy in Dallas unrelated to any other basketball player to ever play the game. He has his single franchise. He has his patented shot. He has his championship. He has everything it takes to be considered one of the all-time greats in his own, unique category.

There will only be one Larry Bird.

There will only be one Dirk: Dirk Nowitzki.

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One response

1 04 2012
thenewsofsports

Classic Dirk. I was watching this game, and I knew Dirk would
A. Get the Ball
B. Take some awkward shot that would somehow go in.

The amazing thing is that these awkward looking shots aren’t really awkward for him. He’s done this one leg fadeaway bank shot so many times, it’s natural.

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