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Friday, January 1, 2010
Dirk passed on chance to deliver in clutch

By Tim MacMahon

Dirk Nowitzki doesn't shy away from firing away with the game on the line. He's made more game-winning shots than anybody in the NBA in recent seasons.

So it's rare to say the big German passed on a clutch shot he should have taken, but that was the case on New Year's Eve in Houston.

With the Mavs trailing by three, Rick Carlisle designed a play on the final possession to get Jason Terry or Dirk a good look at a 3-pointer. Terry was doubled when he caught the ball, so he dished to Dirk at the top of the arc ...

And Dirk gave it up to Jason Kidd on the weak side despite having a pretty good look at the bucket.

Aaron Brooks was flying at Dirk, but so what? Dirk has a one-foot height advantage over the Rockets' point guard. Brooks shouldn't bother Dirk any more than a gnat. Dirk has knocked down shots over smaller defenders his entire career. No reason he shouldn't have tried in the final seconds of 2009.

Instead, he gave it up for Kidd to attempt a contested, desperation 3. If any Maverick is going to try to force overtime with a hand in his face, it ought to be No. 41.