I didn't even really want to get into this thread, but I will say this: As phenomenal as Dirk is, last year's Finals were really telling, IMO. He had chances late in 2 games, and he couldn't finish. I like the guy, and believe that the Mavs won't be seriously contested (maybe somebody takes them to 6 games max) in the playoffs, but I think Dirk will need to prove the naysayers wrong this year.
I did want to respond to this:
Originally Posted by Rulon Velvet Jones
He makes them at an 87% rate when in "crunch time". When he makes them, no one seems to care. But it's magnified 10x when he misses them.
I can ask - what is the biggest single shot in Dirk's career so far?
I'd say it was the free throw to tie it with the Spurs in Game 7 of last year's playoffs. I seem to recall that one going in.
The problem is, he's missed them on the biggest stages. You're right, I had forgotten about Game 7 myself. That was huge, and he came up big. But the bigger shots came just a week and a half later, when he clanked late FT's in 2 Finals games that could have secured the Mavs a ring.
If Dirk makes those in the Finals, the NBA's biggest stage, the story becomes how in every round Dirk came up huge, as clutch as there is. You ask why nobody remembers the big shots, because they were followed by even bigger misses.
But this will all be moot, because as much as I hate to say it, nobody is dethroning the Mavs this year.