The Dallas Mavericks have lost their second straight game to the San Antonio Spurs and are currently down 3-2 in the series. But in the game 5 loss, the Mavericks may have gotten a much-needed mental boost leading into the must-win game 6.
Coming into the game 5, Dirk Nowitzki was averaging just 16 points and shooting an uncharacteristic 38.5% from the field. He endured four straight sub-twenty point games; only the second time of his career he’s had such a streak in the postseason (Previously against the Spurs, 2001).
Early on it seemed he’d push his streak to five, which would have been a first for his lengthy Hall-of-Fame Career. Through the first three-quarters, Nowitzki totaled only 12 points on 3-10 shooting, but he did have an impressive 10 rebounds to that points.
Again, watching Nowitzki struggle in these big games has been dumbfounding. He, after all is a career 25.6 point career scoring in the postseason.
While the Mavericks may have won a couple of games with their franchise player playing less than stellar, no way they’d be able to continue to compete with the NBA’s best if he continued to stay quiet.
When the fourth quarter came along, the Big German finally arrived to the playoffs.
In the fourth quarter he’d total 14 points on 7-10 shooting and 5 rebounds, leading the Mavericks rally. Though he missed a crucial shot with just over two minutes that would have cut the lead to two and the team fell short, Nowitzki showing life may be what Dallas needed going into game 6.
Friday’s game 6 in Dallas is a must win for the Mavericks obviously. Hard to imagine the Mavericks being confident going into the game knowing their star has struggled. But, with his game 5 surge, the Mavericks can now count on and expect Dirk to be Dirk and carry the Mavericks as he’s always done.
But we all know, when Dirk is right, no-one can stop him. And for the Mavericks to win and force another game, he’ll need to have a vintage performance.