You have to admit that it’s pretty impressive that Dirk Nowitzki has now made not one, but two, huge crunch time layups in this year’s NBA Finals. In late-game situations like these, guys usually don’t get all the way to the rim. Just think about most of the famous game-winners you know, they’re all jumpers. Kind of ridiculous that Dirk’s able to get to the cup when the clock is running out and everyone’s focused on making sure he doesn’t get an easy shot.

Part of this one, I think, is that Dirk went before the clock had ran all the way down, something Jeff Van Gundy couldn’t believe. Basketball players are so conditioned, both offensively and defensively, to waiting for the last possible second to start going that it seems like Udonis Haslem might have been just a little bit thrown by Dirk heading to the hoop with 15 seconds remaining. Even if Haslem’s only thrown off guard for half of a split-second, that’s all the window Dirk needs to squeeze this layup in off the glass.

Of course, if Dwyane Wade could catch the ball, that whole going early thing might not look so good.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uOliLN63vkw

Sure, the Heat got the ball back and got a shot off, but I’m guessing they were hoping to get something better than a Mike Miller desperation heave off a barely-saved ball. Just a hunch. Who knows if Wade hits a game-tying with Shawn Marion stepping up around the screen, but Dwyane Wade with momentum and heading towards the basket is certainly preferable than Miller catching the ball and flinging it towards the rim.

It’s like my main man Gavin Rossdale says, “It’s the little things that kill.” A split-second here, a dropped pass there — it adds up, just like my main man Gordon Gano says.

Comments (4)

  1. By going early, the entire Heat team was caught off guard as well. If Dirk had waited until the last second, they would have been able to collapse on him, knowing there would be no time left for Dirk to pass.

    Also, Dirk’s tendency towards fade-away jumpers, as well as the typical late game shot attempt you mentioned, definitely gave Dirk a surprise edge by driving. Really a smart play overall. The Mavs must have had pretty high confidence in their defense as well, leaving that much time on the clock.

  2. Shooting early in the clock was a good decision because it put them up by 3. Dirk saw that the key was open with the help D too far to recover. You can’t let mistakes by opposing D go unpunished. A 3 point lead also means, no matter how clutch Miami gets, the best they can do is tie the game. This series is tight!!!! Go Mavs!

  3. I know Terry was lurking in the corner and Dirk had time to pass, but I’m still baffled as to why Lebron didn’t even offer some semblance of help defense. He’s literally just standing there and watching. His arms aren’t even up.

    I still think Lebron’s the best player in the NBA, but he does have some strange moments.

  4. [...] might think that the Heat lost last night’s Game 4 because Dirk Nowitzki barely squeezed his right-handed layup past the outstretched arms of Udonis Haslem. Or maybe you chalk the Mavericks’ victory up to [...]

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