I’m close to giving up on Mavs analysis. When I got out of my car as the fourth quarter began, PHX had just scored to take a 91-78 lead. In my disgust, I quit following the game. When I flipped the TV on 10 minutes later, in the spirit of rubbernecking more than anything else, DAL led 92-91. I then watched the Mavs finish off a 27-9 fourth quarter and send PHX meekly to the locker room. I was…well, stunned doesn’t begin to describe it.
Save for a week of panic after the ’06 Finals, I’ve always been steadfastly in Dirk’s corner, and consistently maintained that the Mavs should not entertain trading him. He has not always responded to challenges in the way I have hoped, but his struggles have been unfairly magnified in the larger context of the team collapses of the past two years. The man is a gamer, plain and simple. How easily we forget the 50 he dropped on the Suns in the ’06 WCF (and the 29-0 finish in his personal battle with Tim Thomas after TT blew him a kiss), or the 42 he dropped on the Spurs in the ’01 second round series-clinching loss, in which he played through a knocked-out tooth and was the lone bright spot on the floor. Going for 32 and 12 on one leg today with the season on the line was nothing short of remarkable. Bravo, Dirk.
It seems safe to say that the Mavs are in the postseason. I want the Spurs.