As you’ve surely heard, Dirk Nowitzki played through a 101 degree fever in Game 4. Considering my mom was texting me various fever-based puns throughout the fourth quarter, I’m sure you know all about that. And because he was sick and because it was the Finals and because he scored 10 points in the fourth quarter before sounding like he was going to die at the postgame press conference, Dirk’s clutch performance was instantly compared to Michael Jordan’s flu game. I mean, what else are you going to do? Not compare Dirk to the flu game? Get serious.
Of course, no one really thought they were similar, least of all Dirk Nowitzki. From the AP:
Asked to compare the two outings, Nowitzki said: “This is the finals. You have to go out there and compete and try your best for your team. So that’s what I did. I never thought about MJ’s performance. I was way off, looking at my line.”
Jason Terry agreed. From the Dallas Morning News:
Q. Clearly, Jet, this was not Dirk’s masterpiece game. But what he overcame reminded me a little bit of what Jordan overcame some years ago when he was real sick.
JASON TERRY: Wow. A Jordanism? Really? (Laughter).
Q. What do you think?
JASON TERRY: I wouldn’t quite call it that, but hitting that shot down the stretch was key. It was a similar situation in Game 3. Same one in Game 2. Iso, free throw line, took it to the rack, got it done. Big time.
OK, so between two Mavericks immediately denouncing any similarities beyond high fever and the numbers not matching up in any way, shape or form, I think it’s safe to say that Dirk Nowitzki’s Game 4 performance was not the same as Michael Jordan’s flu game. Case closed.
Looks like Dirk is just going to have to settle for having played the second-best Finals game while sick in NBA history. Not a bad consolation prize, what with the clutch layup, huge win and growing legacy that comes with that accomplishment. They might not make shoes about Dirk’s performance, but I think it’ll still the test of time.