Dirk Nowitzki's impact needs to grow

It's a lot to ask, but NBA's best closer must do more for Mavs to contain Thunder

Updated: April 29, 2012, 12:24 PM ET
By Jean-Jacques Taylor | ESPNDallas.com

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Dirk Nowitzki is the game's best closer. Yes, better than Kobe Bryant.

Once again, he showed why Saturday night in Game 1 of the Dallas Mavericks' Western Conference quarterfinals against the Oklahoma City Thunder, when he positioned the Mavs to win the series opener.

But it wasn't good enough.

This time.

Blame Kevin Durant.

The NBA's leading scorer hit a contested jumper over Shawn Marion with 1.5 seconds left to give the Thunder a 99-98 victory ...

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