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Old 03-21-2007, 01:11 AM   #25
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Champ Bailey

Originally Posted by RhymesayersDU View Post
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.
People remember what they want to remember. I remember Dallas getting over the hump last season. I remember Dirk outdeuling the great Tim Duncan in an all-time classic series where both stars were playing at their highest level. This was a battle of possibly the two greatest PF's in NBA history where both players put on a show. I remember Dirk tying the game by taking a defender to the basket who doubters had said could stop him and muscling over him in the post (which doubters said he couldnt do) for the most significant and recognizeable play in recent NBA history. I remember him sinking the tying free throw with ease(the most important of his career). I remember Dirk overcoming the odds on the road in the den of the most dominant franchise in the recent NBA while outdeuling a guy who is a top-5 player in NBA history.

Then I remember Dirk silencing the doubters again in the WCF. I remember him carrying the Mavs on his back. I remember him winning the west after dropping 50 on the Suns (most of those points were in the fourth quarter of a game where the Mavs were trailing entering the period).

In fact, Dirk has done nothing but silence his critics for his entire career. He does it every season. I know that he'll do it again. It's what he does.

Just as Kobe Bryant said: "Dirk doesnt have to prove anything."

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.
Those free throws wouldnt have secured a ring. They would have made the Mavs chances much, much better, but they wouldnt have finalized anything. Dirk had two bad games in that series. Those were only bad games by his standards. That's it.

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.
That's not necessarily true. The story is whatever the media wants it to be. The story would have still been the Suns this season no matter what Dallas did in the playoffs. That is, of course, the comparison that we are looking at.

People tend to want to hold Dirk to standards that they do not hold Nash to. Everyone knows that Phoenix' support players are much better than Dallas'. Marion, Stoudemire, Diaw(or Joe Johnson), Barbosa, and Bell (or Q Richardson) are a pretty talented group. Despite all of those players, Phoenix was not able to do what Dallas could do. They were not able to get over the hump and beat the Spurs. Why was Dallas able to get over the hump? Dirk Nowitzki. Who was the star in the Phoenix/SA conference finals? Stoudemire. Why didnt they get over the hump? Nash cant play defense. Dallas has accomplished more than Phoenix. They have been better at closing out great opponents in the clutch. Dirk is a very, very, very large reason why. In fact, Dirk pulled off a classic finish in the biggest game of his career by scoring an and-1 with seconds on the clock and then blocking Duncan's layup on the other end on the last posession of the game. Cant say the same for Nash. Why isnt Nash being held to the same standard that Dirk is?

I wouldnt care at all if Dirk was criticized on a level playing field, but that's just not what's happening. I read an article recently by a popular national columnist on ESPiN TV that said that the national media intentionally promotes Nash to get at Cuban. He said that his buddies do it. The playing field is not level.

But this will all be moot, because as much as I hate to say it, nobody is dethroning the Mavs this year.
The Mavs dont have the crown. They are going to have to take it by force.
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