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Dirk Nowitzki, Looking Ahead

Look It Up In The Dirktionary

The defensive gameplan for guarding Dirk wasn't revolutionary by any means. There was a hand there to contest every shot whether by his defender or a help defender and a few double teams. How did that work out?

Dirk shot a pedestrian 38.9% on 7-18 shooting, but got to the line for a perfect 12-12 FT to lead Dallas with 27 points. It was arguably an off night for him.

His 11 misses:

1. Kidd posts up on Bibby, Joel helps and passes out to Dirk for an open 3.

2. Drives in between 4 Heaters, misses the left-handed layup by inches.

3. Drives hard to his right on Haslem, misses layup.

4. 3-on-2 fastbreak has Terry driving and kicking out to Nowitzki, who pump fakes to avoid a Wade-in-transition block, then misses an 8-footer.

5. Catches it close to the left corner 3 area, drives opposite of where Joel is recovering to. Pump fakes, shoots and misses.

6. Isolated by left baseline, he pump fakes Joel into the air then drives into the paint where Bosh blocks his layup.


7. Isolated by right sideline, he pump fakes Joel, who doesn't bite then takes a contest shot.

8. Kidd passes to Barea coming off a screen set by Nowitzki. His defender (Bosh) closes out on an open Barea leaving Nowitzki open.  Joel does his best to put a hand up, Dirk misses.

9. Drives parallel to the end baseline, misses a hook shot.

10. Isolated by the right corner of the key, drives right on Haslem and misses the fadeaway.

11. Down 10 with 1 minute to go, Dirk drives past Haslem and takes a fadeaway shot as Wade contests.

If you picture those 11 possessions without knowing the end result, one could easily assume the "unstoppable" Dirk making at least 6 of those shot attempts.  Whether it was nerves or the exhausting Heat recovery on defense, shots he made all post-season long did not fall.  It seems Miami will take their chances, coax him into somewhat contested shots and blockade any passing lanes for him to escape to (Dirk finished with 2 assists).   Gameplan: Keeping it feisty and simple, hoping for Dirk to remain human.

Looking Ahead

Dallas didn’t play bad basketball.  They were able to get Dirk open enough, Shawn Marion virtually multiplied himself and hustled his way to possessions (16 points, 10 rebounds), ball movement found open shooters (22 3PTFGA), and did what they could to deter Miami’s juggernaut offense from disintegrating them.  When shots don’t fall, it just isn’t enough.

Miami played well, but was lucky to have an open Stojakovic finish empty (0-3 3FG), Dirk shoot a pedestrian 7-for-18 from the field, and Barea regress (1-8 FG), while grabbing 16 offensive rebounds for 15 second chance points.  All said factors can easily sway back towards a Dallas breakout game and as well as Miami played, rotations can still improve to close out the shooters unless they are content to leave it to chance. 

That, or the merciless superstar volcano erupting.