In the iconic movie "The Sandlot", one of the characters, Benny 'The Jet' Rodriguez is approached in a dream by 'The Sultan of Swat', Babe Ruth. It was in this scene that words rang true that described Dirk Nowitzki's performance in game two of the NBA finals Thursday night in Miami.
"Heroes get remembered, but legends never die"
Dirk No'Quit'zki scored the final nine points for the Dallas Mavericks as they shocked the Miami Heat and all 20,000 fans at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami, Florida with a 20-2 run to end the game, and earn the 95-93 victory. In what will be described as the best comeback in NBA Finals history, the Dallas Mavericks took advantage of historically bad possessions by the Miami Heat in the final few minutes of the game. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade took off-balance 3-point shots on three consecutive possessions that helped Dallas creep back into the game and eventually take the lead.
Nowitzki didn't play well for the first 42 minutes of this game, but with the Mavs trailing by 15 points in the 4th quarter he put the team on his back and led them to an impressive come-from-behind victory that rivals any other sports comeback in any major championship. He finished with 24 points on 10-22 shooting, with 11 rebounds and 4 assists.
As good as the Mavs played down the stretch the Heat were equally awful. This is a game that Chris Bosh, and any Chris Bosh fan, are going to want to forget very soon. Bosh finished the game 4-16 for 12 points and had a couple of key turnovers at critical times for a Miami Heat team that needed to get the ball in Dwyane Wade's hands more towards the end of the game. After the game Bosh didn't sound like someone that understands how bad he just played. via ESPN.
"There's disappointment. But the reality is the reality. We might as well get used to it and focus on the next one."
The Mavs defense deserves a lot of credit, and individually Jason Kidd does as well for his ball-denial of Dwyane Wade towards the end of the game, but the Heat superstar needed to find a way to get the ball in his hands down the stretch. Wade attempted just one field goal the final six minutes of the game, and that field goal was a missed off-balance three-point shot that led to a three-point field goal by Nowitzki to give the Mavs the 93-90 lead with :26 seconds left in the game.
Dwyane Wade played like an MVP for most of the night as he kept a quiet LeBron James and a pathetic Chris Bosh hanging on his back for most of the night. Nowitzki is going to get a lot of the credit for scoring the final points for the Mavs but it was Shawn Marion and his 20 points on 9-14 shooting that had the Mavs within striking distance in the first place. He drove on LeBron James at will on several different occasions and is undoubtedly the unsung hero for the Mavs in game two.
The Mavericks now have the opportunity to win a NBA championship without ever having to return to the state of Florida. The Mavs host the next three games in Dallas in what will hopefully be an exciting rest of the series as these two teams have now traded punches.
Championships should be won by those who were resilient enough to earn them, it's safe to say that Dallas has earned the right to hold that trophy after this performance. It's not always the most talented team that wins, it's the best team and Thursday night, the Mavs were the best team.