With the exception of the Game 5 loss, Dirk Nowitzki has looked very pedestrian shooting the ball. So far this series his point totals are 11, 16, 18, 19, 26, and 22 and he is only shooting 44% from the field. So why should you be feeling good about Dirk and the Mavs’ chances this afternoon?
In 20 career elimination games, Dirk has averaged 28.9 points and 11.4 rebounds. Guess how many players have a higher scoring averages in win-or-go-home situations? Five. LeBron James, Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain, Allen Iverson, and Jerry West. That is a list I am more than OK with Dirk being in sixth place, and you should be too.
For a man who took a lot of criticism for not being ‘elite’, or having a ‘killer instinct’ early in his career these simple stats tell a different tale. You don’t have to be well versed in Sabermetrics to know that averaging a double-double and nearly 30 points a game in these situations is more than pulling your own in key games.
To delve even further inside Dirk’s numbers, his averages rise to 31.4 points, 11.2 rebounds and shoots 57.7% from the field in five elimination games against the San Antonio Spurs. This is all the more impressive when you can say he does this against one of the greatest NBA coaches of all-time in Gregg Popovich.
To put a cherry on top of this Dirk Sundae, he is 4-0 all-time in Game 7’s. In those four games coming between 2003 and 2006, he has put up a double-double in every single one and has three 30-10 performances. (Looking back it’s impressive that he and the Mavs never had a Game 7 during the 2011 title run).
Hopefully this can take away some of stress I’m sure you’ve been feeling since Friday night. So tune in at 2:30, sit back and watch Dirk do his thing and hope the rest of the squad can rise to the occasion.