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.
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.