From Business Insider:
Dirk Nowitzki is having the best postseason of his career, averaging 28.4 points per game, while leading the Mavericks back to the NBA Finals. Nowitzki’s newfound dominance can be traced back to a plan hatched by his coach before the regular season even started.
This year, Nowitzki averaged just 34.3 minutes per game. That was down over three minutes from 2008-09 (37.7 min/g) and 2009-10 (37.5 min/g), and was his lowest amount of playing time since his rookie year (20.4 min/g).
The fewer minutes led to Nowitzki’s lowest scoring output (23.0 ppg) in seven years. But the benefit appears to be a Dirk with fresher legs in the NBA’s second-season. So far, Nowitzki’s playing time in the playoffs is up to 38.9 minutes per game, which is in line with previous postseasons. Last year he averaged 38.8 minutes and in 2008-09 he average 39.4 minutes. And despite nearly identical playing time, his scoring is up 2.0 points per game over the last three years, when he averaged 26.7-26.8 points.
In his older age, the fresher legs have made Nowitzki a better shooter. His effective field goal percentage (eFG%; which weighs shots based on their point value, a 3-pt shot is worth more than 2-pt shot) was at a career-high this season (.545) and has continued at nearly the same rate into the postseason.
All data via Basketball-Reference.com
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I saw an article from D Magazine and just had to sort of re-post, or do something to get this story out cause it’s too good to just keep it to myself.
It’s a great article and cements the question of just how good Dirk Nowitzki is and what his place in history will be. Here is a sample from author Jason Gay:
Nowitzki will never be rhapsodized as a silky NBA superstar—his game is too deliberate, methodical, result-driven. When he dribbles, you can practically hear him counting the bounces—1, 2, 3. He doesn’t so much drive the lane as lunge through it, and when he jerks backward for his patented fade-away one-leg jumper, he resembles a camp counselor teetering off a canoe. Though the Dirk shot itself is a beautiful thing—a high, slow crescent that appears to pause and admire itself before plunging through the net—it will never be celebrated like the game’s highflying. Nobody runs a highlight reel of “Tonight’s Most Exciting 16-foot Jumpers.”
I’m sorry D Magazine, I quoted the same text you did, but that was such an awesome quote.
An NBA Voyage to the Heart of Dirk-Ness (WSJ)
So I’m thinking there is a bit with these NBA playoff games. Dallas takes game 1, OKC takes game 2. Dallas takes game 3, and they play game 4 tonight. Guess who I would imagine wins tonight’s game? Game 5 is in Dallas, where I predict Mavericks go up 3 games to 2, then back to OKC for game 6, and back to Dallas for game 7 (if necessary). Anyone see a pattern here? Many people have often thrown out the grassy knoll theory that teams make more money the longer the series lasts. Now I don’t know squat about basketball. I’m a novice as a spectator. But there has been a reason I have never delved into the sport for this many years. One of the reasons is because of just what happened Saturday night in OKC. The Mavs were up at one point by 23 points. I noticed the Mavs were fortunate to win that game by just eaking out a 6 point win. I don’t enjoy games like that. I know, I know, it’s exciting. I get that. But my idea would be why make a fan go through all that? Why not just put 2 minutes on a clock and the last team to score wins?
I almost find it comical at the post game news conference at these games. Everyone makes it sound like they have figured out the secret to plutonium. And then the next game, it’s like that explanation made no sense and the other team compensated for that mistake so may as well not said anything after the prior game.
Oh well. Expect Oklahoma City to win tonight and make it look like the Mavs have no prayer in this series, until Wednesday night.
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What is it with this game of basketball? Dallas was up at one point by 23 points but the Oklahoma City Thunder made it interesting to finally lose 93-87.
The Mavericks, who tied with Miami for the league’s best road record during the regular season, won for the fourth straight time outside Dallas in these playoffs and reclaimed home-court advantage just two nights after letting it get away in Game 2.
Nowitzki went 7 for 21 from the field but Dallas still called on him in the clutch to hold off Oklahoma City’s late charge.
NBA scoring champion Kevin Durant also struggled from the field, hitting just 7 of 22 shots to finish with 24 points and 12 rebounds.
Thunder even series with Mavericks 1-1
The Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Mavs last night 106-100. It wasn’t pretty.
Did anyone expect Nowitzki to enter the final quarter of Game 2 with more
assists (five) than baskets (three)? Is seven shots entering the fourth quarter
enough for a player of Nowitzki’s magnitude.
Got to get this thing turned around, and in a hurry. Series shifts up I-35 to Oklahoma City.
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There is a new rivalry with the folks in Oklahoma again. Yes, the Oklahoma City Thunder come sneaking across the river again to try to represent the west in the NBA championship series.
You remember the Okies right? They come down here every year and steal our kids and then turn them against us in the original Red River Shootout as OU battles UT every year. It’s funny how kids go to OU beat UT, then come back to Texas expecting to be Texan again?
The same thing has happened in the pro ranks. The Thunder’s best player is Kevin Durant, and he is a UT alum. That’s the way Oklahoma does things. They come down to Texas, get our players, then brag about how they make a game of it against any Texas team.
If I had my choice of anyone to sweep, it would be the Thunder. Okies, go home.