“You get the sense that this crowd is afraid of Dirk Nowitzki…”
“And they should be.”
The 2011 championship run was filled with memorable sound bites, but this one by former TNT color man and current Golden State Head Coach Steve Kerr just might be my favorite.
It really encapsulates the helplessness that fans feel when their team is matched up against an all time great at the peak of their powers.
Mavs fans have felt it. When they stared Lebron James in the face during the finals, I know I was feeling it. Or in 2006, when they were matched up against the NBA referees and their sidekick Dwayne Wade.
This sense of impending doom is what Laker fans were feeling after Dirk and the Mavs stole yet another game in the Staples Center to take a 2-0 series lead.
Game 2 was the one the Lakers were supposed to get, right? This was the Mavericks. They just got lucky Kobe missed a potential game winner in game 1. They surely wouldn’t be able to win two games in L.A.
And then they did. Led by Dirk’s 24 points and a balanced scoring attack, the Mavericks cruised to a 93-81 win, and did so without any real push back from the Lakers.
It was a big win for many reasons. Obviously, winning two road games in any best of 7 is huge in its own way, but perhaps more importantly, it broke the Lakers spirit. They took away their will, which was not something you would usually associate with the old Mavericks doing. It was the win that set the stage for the sweep that was to come.
The NBA world was put on notice. This Mavs team was different, and Dirk was on a mission.
And if you’ve got a little time on your hands:
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