Dirk Nowitzki Hasn’t Been Good Enough

The Mavericks might as well surrender if Dirk Nowitzki can't get it going

Dirk Nowitzki is cementing his legacy in the 2011 playoffs. There’s no denying that. I wrote about it last week. He brought his Mavericks back with 9 straight points in the final 2:43 of the 4th quarter to cap off a stunning 22-5 run, which included the game-winning lay-up with 3.6 seconds left on the clock.

It’s the kind of stuff that happens to legends. No big deal.

Related: NBA Playoffs – Where Legends Are Made

Still, the run that saved Dallas’ championship hopes is overshadowing the fact that Dirk Nowitzki has to play better. Dallas is awful lucky to be going home tied 1-1. Other than the final 2:43 of game 2, Dirk Nowitzki has been rather ordinary. The Miami defence has done more than its part to shut him down.

Nowitzki has averaged 25.5 points a game in the finals but has done it shooting well below the 50% plateau.

Bosh was terrible, Lebron missed clutch shots, and the bench went back to being invisible. Almost everything fell into place for the Mavericks in game 2 yet they were only able to squeak out an unthinkable comeback victory.

The Dallas Mavericks don’t have a roster to make-up for a less than outstanding Dirk Nowitzki. Jason Terry played about as well as he can with Lebron guarding him and they are squeezing virtually every ounce of juice left out of 33-year-old Shawn Marion’s size mismatches.

Dirk Nowitzki needs to play as well as Michael Jordan did in the second half against the Monstars. There is no other alternative. Miami will not give up another lead like that. If Dirk continues to score at this pace the series will be over before you can say “Nowringski.”

It’s surprising that the Mavericks have been able to keep pace at all with Nowitzki playing in this manner. That 4th quarter extra gear that the Heat possess but forgot about in the last 7 minutes of game 2 is a major difference between these two teams. Although the gave the illusion that they have a similar gear, game 2 should not cloud our judgement. The reality is that only one man on the Mavericks who can reach the clutch to shift into that extra special gear.

That man shifted into overdrive late in the 4th quarter when it was just about too late. That can’t happen again. Nowitzki has to be in that gear for 40 minutes, not 2:43.

The Mavericks by themselves don’t have the ability to pull away from the Heat. It will only come from Dirk Nowitzki. The heat have been toying with them, holding out for their opportunity to thrown the hammer down. It’s a cat and mouse game but the Mavericks don’t get to be the cat. On Thursday night, the cat took a 7 minute nap.

A brief mental let down from an inexperienced and immature team has kept the Mavericks in this series. From here on in though, an out of this world Dirk Nowitzki will be the only thing keeping the Mavericks from another disappointing summer.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. Also, follow me on twitter @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favour.

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About Chris Ross
Questions, comments, suggestions? Send yours to cross_can15@hotmail.com. Follow me on twitter @paintstheblack

29 Responses to Dirk Nowitzki Hasn’t Been Good Enough

  1. Pingback: Dirk Nowitzki Hasn't Been Good Enough « Painting the Black | | The Mavericks StoreThe Mavericks Store

  2. Bheise says:

    Good points all around. I think the one thing Dallas has going in its favor is the fact that they’re headed back home with the momentum. Role players play better at home and worse on the road. They were relatively close in game 1 and won game 2 despite the fact that the bench struggled and role players didn’t make many shots. I think Barrea, Terry, and maybe even Peja will play significantly better the next 3 games. But like you said, it all hinges on Dirk. Hopefully, last night’s game was the exorcising of some NBA Finals demons for him and the Mavs.

  3. tophatal says:

    The lone improvement to mind that separates the Mavs and their performances of last season has been Tyson Chandler as he’s provided the team with more of a defensive presence . Granted the loss of Butler has made it necessary for the Mavs to made changes in their overall schemes .

    And after the performance of Nowitzki last night you want to hold off on the criticism somewhat . The real problem has been GM Donnie Nelson as his assessing NBA talent borders somewhere between Palin knowing the difference as to the meaning of the words refudiate and repudiate .

    tophatal …………..

  4. Gez says:

    Can’t admit defeat? give credit where it is due. One side article.

    • frances says:

      so true! one side article and very disappointed to see people who believe that the so called ‘big three’ are Gods. if the mavs only have Nowitzki the heat only have James and Wade, and Bosh just trying every time to survive against the two, and when the mavs have them overwhelmed ‘miracles’ happen, obviously in the eyes of the miami heat worshipers. both are great teams and both of them CAN win the championship. Don’t count the mavs out yet and mavs don’t count the heats out just yet. my honest opinion.

  5. Red says:

    I don’t think I’d call 20 Maverick turnovers ‘almost everything falling into place’ for them. Miami had very little half court offense all night. Most of that 15 point lead was built on Mavs turnovers. In each of the first two quarters, both teams scored the same, and Miami only won the 3rd quarter by 4. Like game 1, the Mavs missed several wide open jumpers within 15 feet and couldn’t finish on several layups. Certainly, the Heat defense had a hand in that, but if ‘almost everything’ had actually fallen into place for the Mavs, they would’ve won game 2 by 20 and probably be up 2-0 in the series.

  6. chappy81 says:

    I’d agree with Red. The Mavs played awful for the first three quarters, and were still close. I was actually shocked that they were even that close considering Marion was really the only guy to show up. Chandler got after it on the boards which seemed like a big help. It felt like Miami was doing whatever they wanted for awhile, so honestly I’d be more worried if I was the Heat. It’s much worse to lose a lead like that then comeback from one. It’s going to hurt the Heat pysque the rest of the way when they try to close out a game…

    • Adam Parker says:

      Interesting take on things. But I’ll still take the Mavs’ in six. Jason Kidd at times has been able to bother both James and Wade, while Bosh, as you said, has been pretty much been nonexistent. And I would be worried if I were the Heat considering that Dirk “didn’t play too well” and Dallas still came back. It says something about the amount of solid bench depth on Dallas’ roster. Plus, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Miami blow another lead like that, considering that they’ve done it in the past and are susceptible to it because they’re still a relatively young team.

  7. edpenn13 says:

    It’s funny how we both argue from different sides of the ring…yet I find myself agreeing with a lot of this!
    As a lakers fan, I try to focus on everything positive about Dallas…(in case you didn’t realise!) because I just really don’t want the Heat to win.
    Thus why I focused soley on Dirks 4th quarter performance. But you’re right, he has been far below average for the last two games and he will definitely need to step his game up.

    Ever the optimist! 😀

  8. Max. W says:

    You’re absolutely right. Without Dirk playing MVP type basketball the Mavs are a smart, defensive minded veteran team with no real, consistent scoring threats. Their offense is focused solely on Dirk, if he can’t produce offensively against a top defence like Miami’s then this series will be over in the next three games in Dallas. The first game showed us how the Heat were going to play Dirk. The second game played, no adjustments were made to get Dirk more involved in the offense. I think he figured it out in the last 2:43 that if he doesn’t produce then his team is an 8th seed in the West not a 3rd seed. If he plays like he did in the last 2:43; aggressive, on task and focused for 40 minutes a night then this series will be close.

  9. devineideas says:

    I think the point of contention is whether or not the Mavericks struggles are due to the Miami defense. Having obsessed over every Maverick playoff game this year, I think that the Mavs struggles have less to do with the Heat defense. Terry is a streaky shooter, and has struggled since game 3 of the OKC series. I see him missing open shots, not being bothered defensively (at least not any more than previous series). You are right; Dirk has to be better, and I think there is reason to believe he will be. But I expect Terry and Kidd to play better at home (Peja may be done, however). The Mavericks’ goal was to steal one on the road, and they did. For an admittedly pro-Dallas view on the finals, check out http://dfwsportshole.wordpress.com/ .

  10. p1boggan says:

    Well done, but slight biased. Obviously Dirk has to be one of the best two players on the floor each night for Dallas to win. But the goal was to steal(emphasize that word) one on the road and that’s exactly what happened. I don’t even blame the collapse due to youth. I think that the arrogance of Lebron might be the death of Miami. They have to focus for 48 mins as we’ve seen the Mavs do time and time again this postseason. And I think you’re trying to see Marion as what he used to be. He’s absolutely playing out of his mind right now, but he’s only suppose to be a role player. He focuses more on D.
    And the issues at the end with lebron and wade shooting ridiculous threes instead of driving the paint were absurd.
    For a different point of view, feel free to check out http://www.wordpress.p1boggan.com.

    And of course

  11. dac3 says:

    Chris. Great article man. Solid points on one of the greatest NBA Final comebacks of all time. Thanks for responding to my blog earlier! Please continue to check in http://lonestarsportsledger.wordpress.com/.

  12. I agree with you that Dirk has to be great for the Mavs to win, he’s facing Bron Bron and Wade. However, I disagree with you regarding his supporting cast. Many are similar to Miami’srole guys in that they are shooters who if are not on the mark will essentially ineffective. However, Dallas has a big frontcourt which Miami doesn’t with Tyson Chandler and Brendan Haywood, giving the Heat trouble down low. No, Chris Bosh doesn’t count as an interior defender. I feel as though Terry and Kidd are far more capable than Miami’s supporting role, but obviously Wade and LeBron compensate very much so for their lack of surrounding talent.

  13. goffzilla16 says:

    Yeah, p1boggan, I agree with you. It was imperative that Dallas steal 1 game in these first 2, and to take this one the way they did before heading back home is huge for them.

    I also agree with your assessment of LeBron. As a Cleveland native and Cavs fan, I am all-too-familiar with that style of play out of him and I couldn’t help but chuckle a little bit when I saw him dribble down the court and hold on to the ball for the entire possession and then throw up a ridiculous 3-pointer with Chalmers just 6 feet away unguarded and ready to shoot a higher % shot. Also, it was clear that Wade had the hot hand that night – why not give him the ball? Poor decision making by the Heat in he stretch there.

    I think this win for the Mavs was more about a complete collapse of the Heat defense. They thought they had it in the bag, and they let it slip away.

    I thought Chandler played well, as did Terry in the end (Except for his glaring defensive mistake when Chalmers was able to hit that 3 to tie it up).

    Great article, Chris. And thanks for checking out my blog, goffzilla.wordpress.com, and commenting!

  14. sgiustra says:

    Good post Chris. I agree that Dallas, esp Dirk, havent played that well.

    Still, the Mavs are tied with the Heat, 1 – 1, and that’s in 2 road games. Not bad considering.

    I think the Heat are slight favorites, even now but they are not really a young or inexperienced team.

    LeBron and Wade have plenty of experience and should have known better than to celebrate with 7 minutes left.

    Yes, the Heat are arrogant enough to get into their cat and mouse mentality as you cleverly noted. But is this the real world cat and mouse or is it Tom and Jerry?

    Keep up the good work

  15. sgiustra says:

    Please visit my take on game 2 at Wade, James celebrate. Mavs Win

  16. heatsince03 says:

    He is the key to the Mavs success. He scored their final 7 points of game 2. But if you look closely on his go ahead 3 pointer, Tyson Chandler was doing a moving pick on Haslem. It should have been an offensive foul, instead the officials let it go.

    • sgiustra says:

      Uh, and that Chandler foul on Lebron that led to 2 James foul shots was no foul. Clean, tough play. Home team call. Be serious, the Heat choked and there was no no one around to do the Heimlich maneuver.

  17. L. L. Booth says:

    Chris, good post here. I think one thing that has been a worry here in the Big D all season was that the Mavs were going to peak too early in the season. They did that back in 2006 when they had one of the–or the–best win records in the league all year and then blew it in the post season playoffs. That was a horrible blow to the Mavs and all of us fans, to say the least.

    Like I said in my blog post, I think we’re seeing a different team this year. However, with that said, our bench–which is one of the best benches in the entire league, by the way–is not playing to their potential or even what has become their “norm.” Our bench is the one thing that most teams are envious of. Yes, we have Dirk, and he is a superstar–but I think we can all agree that one player alone isn’t enough to secure a finals win. It has to be all in, all done–and that, we have not seen in the past 2 games. We’ve seen that up until now, but not in our games with the Heat.

    Mavs need to get their rhythm back, the bench needs to shine like they always do, and they need to start driving the lane more instead of passing the ball 20 times before attempting to make a shot. I think their game needs to be at a more fast-paced style.

  18. Jamie says:

    while I agree with you to an extend (in games 1 & 2), I can’t say Dirk wasn’t good enough in game 3.

    Did he miss the last shot? Yes.

    Did he get any help from his teammates in the 4th quarter? No. But unlike in game 1, Jet, Marion, Kidd and Barea all had open looks (albeit they were few and far between, a testament to the Miami defense) and they couldn’t convert.

    Here’s my breakdown of what went wrong for the Mavs in game 3:


  19. Chris, once again great post, although I have to disagree with you. Dirk has been amazing this whole postseason, and the Finals have been no exception. I mean, what do people expect, him to be Jordan? The real problem is his supporting cast. There has been nobody, I mean nobody to back him up. This isn’t Dirk’s fault, this is the team’s fault.

    • Chris Ross says:

      See I don`t expect Dirk to be Michael Jordan but I’m saying he has to play at that level in order for the Mavs to win. What you say about his supporting cast is exactly right and it isn’t Dirk’s fault. After game 2 I meant that he has to pretty much be better and be superman if they want to win.

      • frances says:

        you are spot on, i agree, geez it’s not a piece of cake to be dirk nowitzki, he’s working hard and unfortunately the mavs need him to work harder still if they want to win, very sad but true. like i always say, even here in puerto rico (we really love basketball here, i’m a gal writing in this blog, so go figure) you just can’t win a championship with one player!

    • frances says:

      i have to agree with you news of sports, dirk has been amazing the whole season but what do people expect from him, to win the championship all by himself? there’s a reason why it’s called a basketball TEAM, he can’t do it all. terry made a terrible decision on game 3, he tried a 3 pointer when the game was tied, come on!!! you just have to use common sense, if the game is tied and you have the ball you have to make sure you have the lead and that, statistically speaking, is most probable with a 2 pointer not a 3 pointer. then Miami gets the rebound makes a two pointer, takes the lead by two when at least it should have been tied if they had completed the previous layup and with 4 seconds on the clock do you really expect dirk to be responsible for another player decision and miraculously save game 3 also like he did on game 2 , like he did with okc, like he did with game 2 with the lakers? he can’t win all games by himself!! i think people just expect him to repair all the mistakes from other players and to have at least 50 points per game average. it’s just insane. give credit where it’s due. he’s a worker. he’s working very hard is just that the supporting cast is simply not there!

  20. cupcrazy12 says:

    I think is doing more then enough with the supporting cast he has. After game three and four, it is obvious that this team rides Dirk. Even the players Dirk have to work with are way less than average compared to the Heat. I mean really, Jason Kidd, Jason Terry (who for some reason is colder than ice). Then you look at the Heat and you are facing two superstars in James and Wade, a tough opponent in Bosh who has the ability to drop 30 pts and still snag 15 rebounds, and then even someone like Chalmers can knock down a big shot when needed. If Dirk can keep the type of performance he has been showing in these four games, I think the Mav’s have a strong shot of pushing this to seven games. Thank god Kidd knows how to play some D because he is holding the big three to a low field goal %.

    If you guys would like you can check out my blog to see my opinion on the NBA and NHL playoffs.

    Thanks Chris, good writing. Like your stuff!


  22. hi chris! maybe you want to write a follow up article after the mavs won, and dirk, the finals mvp?

    i think you owed it to him to rephrase how great he’s been in that 4th quarters heroics.

    thanks and goodluck to your writing.

  23. an out-of-this-world- dirk nowitzki? it’s not easy being superman, folks!

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