Dirk Is A Boss

You heard it in the classroom. You heard it from your uncles. You heard it from your momma. We’re not sure who Dirk heard it from, but we know it was in German: “If at first you don’t succeed…” and yeah, you know the rest. After missing an open three with the clock winding down in the fourth quarter and his team down two, Dirk had another look from behind the arc. Maybe previous versions of Dirk (since he’s become a robot) would’ve shied away from that second shot. But not this Dirk Nowitzki. And this Dirk Nowitzki was buckets – hitting the three that would give his Mavericks a lead they wouldn’t give up, beating the Thunder, 100-96, and punching their tickets to the team’s second NBA Finals in five years. The Dallas Mavericks are your 2011 Western Conference champions. Get used to it. Dirk was the beast they needed, from start to finish. Early on, he put a spin and dunk on Serge Ibaka where he must’ve asked him “Big fella, can you understand this language?” Boom. On his head. Even someone like Iblocka couldn’t translate that. Then after driving in the dagger that killed the West, Dirk walked out on the celebration. Like a boss … As Rick Barry said, we’d be “remiss” if we didn’t mention the gutsy performance by the OKC boys. Kevin Durant (23 points) came out hot like that bowl of chili out the microwave. But unfortunately for Thunder fans (and like that chili), he quickly cooled off as the contest wore on. Durant’s off? The Thunder are totally screwed right? Wrong. Enter Russell Westbrook (31 points, eight rebounds, five assists). This story was nearly about shutting up those media folks (ahem, ahem) that didn’t think Westbrook could win you a playoff game. Now the Thunder may not have won, but we think Russ proved his point. Remember when you were in preschool and recess hit? You went flying out the door to the swing set. Forget order, forget anything the teachers say. You were the man and you were gonna be first. That was Westbrook in the first quarter. He went from his own baseline to inside the opposing team’s three-point line in two seconds. TWO SECONDS. Kurt Thomas hasn’t made it past midcourt in less than two seconds since ’03. Did anyone catch Mark Jackson singing “Wild thaaang, you make my heart sing…” to Westbrook? Jackson just won American Idol … We wonder what the requirements were for being the voice-over for the talking basketball commercials. Imagine what those auditions were like. They need to do a parody of these with Charlie Sheen and a glass of gin … Keep reading to hear about the Beard, the Matrix and the JET
The other headline of the night was watching the Beard. When the Mavs went small in the second half, James Harden (23 points) kept running that pick-n-roll. Whenever Harden scored at least 15 in the playoffs, the Thunder won. Now that’s a pretty stupid stat. When one of your x-factors plays big, of course you’re probably gonna win. But it was still noteworthy after he scored 16 in the first half alone. With all his flopping and facial hair, are we sure Harden isn’t from Serbia? Our prediction: 2012 will be the Year of the Beard. Keep an eye out for James, even if the shirt he wore to the postgame press conference looked like something from a bad ’80’s movie … How stupid does Kendrick Perkins feel now? The big boy went from running his mouth, saying he’s going to chew up Tyson Chandler and break him in half like a wishbone to Chandler making Perkins look old and out of shape. In the first quarter, Tyson (nine points, nine rebounds) hit a shot and gave the old Celtic that look like, “Yeah dude. What you got to say now?” … The real x-factor in this one was Shawn Marion (26 points, eight rebounds). He has completely redefined his game since his early days – going from a deadly perimeter scorer (who could defend) to a big-time defender (who can score) that straight gobbles up points around the rim. His D down the stretch is the reason the Mavericks won (that and his sick dunk-and-one to ice it). His shot form may make us uncomfortable (is it a flick? a push? a punch?), but his gritty game makes it all good. When Dallas went into their zone in the fourth (after they got torched by Harden going small), his length in the passing lanes made it so hard to get anything rolling to the rim. It made OKC a Durant-iso squad with Westbrook crashing the boards. It was fun to watch, but the Thunder had to abandon what was working earlier … And then there was Jason Terry, putting the icing on the cake with a stuff of his own as time expired. It’s like that last plate at the Chinese Buffet – you know you don’t need it, but damn it tastes so good. Like Mark Cuban said, “We’re not done yet!” … Who caught Westbrook rush off the court without shaking hands? Don’t get tight at him – obviously on his way to see the Hangover 2 midnight premiere … Besides Dirk, our lasting image of the night was watching KD walk off the floor, looking like he was legit sick to his stomach. At the presser afterwards, we didn’t even need to hear what he was saying – that sunken look behind his eyes told the whole story. You want your stars to care that much, to care as much as the fans apparently do. Soak it in Kev, this one will drive you to be great … It seems people are still kinda confused by the Lakers hiring of Mike Brown, and equally interested in what Kobe will do … We’re out like OKC in 2011.

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