$dbc = mysqli_connect ('localhost', '', '', '') OR die (mysqli_connect_error()); Dirk Nowitzki leads Dallas Mavericks to their first NBA Title | Hardwood Canvas

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Hardwood Canvas » 2011 NBA Playoffs, Feature Stories, News » Dirk Nowitzki leads Dallas Mavericks to their first NBA Title

Dirk Nowitzki leads Dallas Mavericks to their first NBA Title

Hello World!

It was right there for the World to see.

A 7-foot tall German giant with light feet and an uncanny propensity to hit awkward one-legged fadeaways and duck-under layups armed with a second chance opportunity to step into the historic annals of NBA lore.

That shaggy-haired giant was none other than Dallas Mavericks star power forward Dirk Nowitzki.

And in a moments time late Sunday evening the once-doggedly questioned basketball import confidently charged his way straight past those walls and right into the congratulatory expanse that is reserved for Champions the likes of Russell, Bird, Jordan, Thomas, Johnson, Cousy and Chamberlain.

Dirk Nowitzki (Right), Bill Russell (Left)

Dirk proved his worth in the 2011 NBA Finals taking home the coveted Bill Russell Finals’ MVP award by averaging 26 points and 9.7 rebounds per game. (Getty Images)

And he did so with a fearlessness and grace that commanded undeniable respect and appreciation.

Dirk is a four-time All-NBA first team selection.

A 10-time NBA All-Star.

An NBA MVP.

He has scored over 22,000 points and grabbed a surplus of 8,000 rebounds throughout his illustrious 13-year career.

However, before leading the Dallas Mavericks to their first NBA title Sunday he was relatively viewed as nothing but a great player who was unable get it done when it counted most…in the Finals.

As harsh and single-minded as the above claim may read, the sentiment shared is truly indicative of the magnitude we in this cold World of Sports place on winning.

When we speak of our greats those countless names by default are required to boast at least one significant token of Championship hardware to warrant such a bold proclamation.

Now in his 13th NBA season just a week before his 33rd birthday Nowitzki demands such acknowledgment.

His greatness is now unquestionable.  Unarguable.  Undoubted.

For Dirk is a Champion.

Leading the ever-confident and determined Dallas Mavericks in the 2011 postseason past the Blazers in six games, the Lakers in four, the Thunder in five, and capping off their remarkable run ousting the athletically-superior Heat in six; Dirk had to be at the top of his game and he was.

In 21 games the 7-0, 245-pound perimeter-oriented power forward averaged 27.7 points per game on 48.5% shooting from the field.  He shot 46% from three and an amazing 94.1% from the free throw line.

But the big German did more than just score.  He scored when his team needed it most averaging 10.3 points in the fourth quarter of the NBA Finals.

Dirk Nowitzki

Dirk closes the curtains on a 15-point fouth-quarter rally in a momentum-changing Game 2 victory from American Airlines Arena in Miami, FL. (MikeEhrmann/GettyImages)

The Miami Heat did their best to stop him, but he was simply undaunted in the clutch single-handedly leading the Mavs charge by making go-ahead buckets in both Games 2 and 4.

His Game 2 heroics coming on the heels of a 15-point Mavs’ comeback while hampered through an injury to his left middle finger.  Game 4 fireworks even more impressive considering an 101-degree fever that had him coughing and wheezing throughout the contest.

Both scores coming via an attack of the rim – which is indicative of how he approached this heavily documented second-chance at redemption.

In fact in their series-closing Game 6 victory from Miami’s American Airlines Arena Dirk, who had struggled mightily throughout the first 3 quarters of play hitting just 4-of-19 shots, knocked down 5 of his final 8 attempts to close out the Heat with 10 huge fourth-quarter points.

His stellar play throughout the series would result in a NBA Finals MVP nod and, obviously, the coveted ultimate prize…the 2011 NBA Championship title.

Dirk’s closing NBA Finals’ numbers: 26.0 points, 9.7 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 41.6% FG (8.7-20.8), 36.8% 3-PT (1.2-3.2), 97.8% FT (7.5-7.7).

As much as Dirk’s play demands attention, the Mavs’ as a whole played team-ball throughout their impressive Championship run.  Especially when it came to the Finals.

Players like Jason Terry (27 points in Game 6, 18.0-point average, 3.2 assists), Jason Kidd (6.3 assists, 1.2 steals, 42.9% 3-PT), Shawn Marion (13.7 points, 6.3 rebounds), J.J. Barea (16 points, 5 assists, 56.5% shooting in last 2 starts), DeShawn Stevenson (56.5% 3-PT on 13-of-23 shooting) and Tyson Chandler (9.7 points, 8.8 rebounds, 59.4% FG) all played huge roles for the Mavs’.

Without their strong efforts Dirk doesn’t have a chance to get his.

To be the one spoken of as an NBA Legend.  A sports Icon.

But, ultimately, without the strong-willed determined example of their leader in Dirk; Dallas is just a team full of under-appreciated veterans.

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One Response to "Dirk Nowitzki leads Dallas Mavericks to their first NBA Title"

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