Dirk Nowitzki has been struggling to regain form, but when he got a game-winning jumper to roll in at New Jersey, it was a reminder that he’s still Dirk Nowitzki. He still looked a little sluggish, but not near as bad as in Chicago Tuesday night against the Bulls, but to watch that ball circle the top of the net and then roll in…SWEET! He still has that sweet shot to make the ball do whatever he wants it to.
Since I can’t jump that high, I wanted to take a broomstick and punch it out.” – Nets coach Avery Johnson, describing his thought process when Nowitzki’s game-winner was rolling around the rim.
The important thing is that Nowitzki knows this rocky stretch he has had won’t last. Tonight he connected on 7 of 24 shots and led the Mavericks in scoring with 23 points and had 7 rebounds. As Dirk stated, “It’s been an ugly stretch these three, four, five games,” “I haven’t had a stretch like this since my rookie season (1999). After sitting out for three weeks, my mind is telling my body to make a move and my body is taking a minute to make the move.”
Tyson Chandler had another great night by scoring 19 points and grabbing 8 rebounds and JET added 11 points and Shawn Marion added 11 rebounds, but Marion’s defense was the decisive thing for the night.
Shawn Marion forced an airball by getting a piece of a Devin Harris’ stepback jumper with under a minute remaining. The shot would have put the Nets up three instead of one heading into the Mavericks’ final offensive possession; this is where defense is as important as scoring points and these are the type of things that don’t show up on a stat sheet.
Now you have to hand it to the New Jersey Nets, they gave Dallas everything they could to try and win this game, even led after the first quarter by 4, and you could tell that players like Devin Harris and Kris Humphries, former Mavs players, wanted to get a win over the Mavs since the Mavs beat them in Dallas in December 102-89. Plus, you would have thought that you were in LA or something since Humphries girlfriend, Kim Kardashian was in the audience, as well as a few other celebrities, Snooki, John Amos just to mention a few. That’s ok, we have our own celebrities that we can brag on at our games.
Even though Harris was an integral point to this team and game, it was Brook Lopez that led the Nets almost to victory with his 24 points and between him and Humphries, they combined with 32 points and 21 rebounds to try and contain the Mavericks, but it just didn’t quite work out.
However, the Nets, a team who has only won 12 games this season, which is the same number of games they won all last season, did connect on more field goals that Dallas did, 44.4% to 34.7%, but Dallas connected on 38.1% to 33.3% on threes and converted 93.1% of their free throw attempts into points, compared to 81% for New Jersey; now that’s what I’m talking about. We need more of those 90+% free throw nights to help in winning a game.
But it inevitably was that sweet shot Dirk connected on with only 6 seconds left on the clock that won the game, and then Marion’s defense on Harris to force the ball to Jordan Farmar and the rushed shot that was not heard around the world! Mavs win!
Now as a side note, Mavericks win, San Antonio lost and even though they are still in 3rd in the Western Conference, they did gain a game up and maybe this karma will go our way for a while.
The Mavericks are headed home to get ready for the Los Angeles Clippers to come to town on Tuesday and see if the can man handle Blake Griffin and the rest of the bunch. They are now dubbing him the savior of the Clippers, but maybe he’ll just get clipped and see what the other side of the pond looks like. Maybe with a little bit of rest and maybe if they can get the waivers all done on the Peja-Anjica trade done, maybe Peja will be able to play a little on Tuesday night and this will be the rebirth of the Mavericks; only time will tell.
So I bid you a good night and say good luck and let’s go Mavs!