In the much-hyped matchup between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Dallas Mavericks, the game belonged to the player most affected by DeAndre Jordan’s change of heart: Dirk Nowitzki. Jordan’s presence, combined with those of Chandler Parsons and Wesley Matthews, was supposed to take a great deal of pressure off Dirk’s shoulders, allowing him to end his final years on a contender.
But Jordan changed his mind, and in so doing, changed the trajectory of Dirk’s career. Rather than go out on top, he’d toil away in the dregs of the Western conference. That still might happen, but at least for one night, Dirk got the best of the Clippers, proving there’s still some fight left in both he and the Mavericks.
Dirk didn’t waste any time getting started, hitting a three within the opening seconds of the game. From that point on, it was a masterful, vintage performance that included many of Dirk’s greatest hits, from his turnaround, one-legged jumper to his deep bombs. One such deep bomb came in the face of DeAndre Jordan – poetic justice playing out on the hardwood.
When the game was on the line, the Mavericks, as they had so many times in the past, turned to Dirk, who, as he had done so many times in the past, carried them to victory. With the shot clock at single digits and just a minute remaining in a tightly-contested game, it took less than a millisecond after getting the ball for Dirk to rise and fire a three-pointer to put the Mavs up 113-108.
We probably don’t have many of these Dirk performances left (at least not compared to the bushel we’ve already had), so it’s important to cherish nights like these when they happen. At the end of the season, the Clippers will likely be in the playoffs, while the Mavs will likely be loitering in the lottery. For one night, though, because of the man they’ve counted on so many times before, the Mavericks were the better team.