Keep Your Hands Off Your Dirk


Things were going pretty well for the Suns until Dirk Nowitzki managed to send Shawn Marion to the bench with foul trouble. Paul Coro reports:

The Suns were on their way to a home close-out game when Tim Thomas' locked-in stroke put Phoenix ahead 77-70 with the last of his six three-pointers. It gave Thomas a playoff career-high 26 points, but he would not score again.

That 16-6 Suns run prompted a Dallas timeout. On the next play, Marion picked up his fourth foul while fronting Nowitzki and left the game. With Marion out, Nowitzki found his rhythm. He was 6 for 16 at that moment. He made eight of his next 10 shots, hitting his first six of 22 points in the fourth quarter. He played with the fire of a man whose coach, he said, had "let me have it" in Wednesday's review of Game 4 video.

"When we were down seven, I just saw the whole season swimming away," Nowitzki said. "So at that point, I just said, 'You know, Let's go. Whatever we need to do.' "

Turned out what they needed to do was get a blowout win thanks to a possessed 50 (22 and 8 rebounds in the fourth quarter alone) from the large German fella.

Marc Stein has a good write-up, to go alongside video highlights.