Dirk unstoppable in fourth quarter again

April, 20, 2011
DALLAS -- Call Dirk Nowitzki a non-crunch-time performer at your own risk.

If he isn't changing minds with his fourth-quarter performances in staking the Dallas Mavericks to a 2-0 lead over the Portland Trail Blazers, nothing will do it. Nowitzki hasn't been great early on, missing on some shots that are normally automatic and at other times struggling to get clean looks against the defense of Portland forward LaMarcus Aldridge.

Nowitzki is 16-of-42 from the field in the first two games yet is easily the most dominant player on the floor. His fourth quarters speak for themselves. That hasn't stopped the sellout crowd in the opening two games of this franchise's critical first-round series from speaking for Dirk by starting the "MVP" chant.

Nowitzki scored 28 points in Game 1 and followed it up with 33 in Game 2. On both nights his brilliant final periods carried the team to victory. He has outscored his counterpart Aldridge, 32-9, in the final frame.

In the first three quarters of both games, Nowitzki has scored 29 total points on 10-of-31 shooting and 9-0f-9 from the free throw line.

In the fourth quarter, however, Nowitzki's numbers are mesmerizing: 32 points on 6-of-11 shooting -- 1-of-1 from 3-point range -- and 19-of-21 from the free throw line. And he's earning every one of them, pounding his body inside, absorbing contact and finishing strong.

"This team is going to keep fighting," Nowitzki said. "I’m going to keep fighting."

Nowitzki finished Game 2 with seven rebounds, giving him 17 in the two games and four assists effectively passing out of double teams to red-hot shooters.

The Blazers, as Gerald Wallace suggested afterward, is one tough cover.

"You're telling me," Wallace said. "It's tough when you don't know how to guard him. He has an arsenal of tactics down there as far as getting to the basket and getting his shot off. But, I think we did a great job on him tonight. Once again, our main thing is trying to keep him
off the free throw line. It's tough when he's making shots and he's getting to the free throw line. Either or, but you can't give up both of them."

Wallace's comment sounds contradictory, yet at the same time it is accurate. The Blazers have done a good job on Nowitzki for six of eight quarters.

But, the fourth quarter is a real killer.



You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?


Fitzsimmons & Durrett: Rick Carlisle

Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett at Mavericks media day to discuss his expectations for the upcoming season.

Galloway & Company: Mark Cuban

Mark Cuban joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Mavericks' new GM Gersson Rosas and much more.

Fitzsimmons & Durrett: Mark Cuban talk

Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss Mark Cuban's comments from Las Vegas about the Mavericks' offseason, how he sees the team without Dwight Howard and more.

Fitzsimmons & Durrett: Marc Stein

Marc Stein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why the Mavericks didn't want to match Cleveland's offer to Andrew Bynum, what's next for the Mavs and the possibility of Dirk Nowitzki ending his career elsewhere.

Fitzsimmons & Durrett: The Standoff

Jeff Platt fires quick-hitters at Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon in the weekly sports standoff about Andrew Bynum, the Mavs' current backcourt, a potential Nelson Cruz suspension and more.

Fitzsimmons & Durrett: Ramona Shelburne

ESPN Los Angeles' Ramona Shelburne joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why she thinks Andrew Bynum got a bad rap in Los Angeles and how he would fit in with the Mavericks.

Fitzsimmons and Durrett: Buy or sell

Buy, sell or hold? If Dwight Howard goes to another team, what are the Mavs' options? The guys take a look at a list of potential fallback options.

Fitzsimmons & Durrett: Marc Stein

ESPN's Marc Stein joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the latest news on the Mavericks' meeting with Dwight Howard.


Dirk Nowitzki
21.7 2.7 0.9 32.9
ReboundsS. Dalembert 6.8
AssistsM. Ellis 5.7
StealsM. Ellis 1.7
BlocksS. Dalembert 1.2