Beauty for all

Dirk Nowitzki closes strong on off night

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Midway through the fourth quarter, it didn’t matter that Dirk Nowitzki was in the midst of one of the worst postseason performances of his career.

Superstars want the ball with the game on the line.

As usual, Dirk delivered down the stretch. He had 10 of his 18 points in the final 7:22, allowing the Mavs to withstand the Thunder’s furious fourth-quarter run. Not that Nowitzki was flawless during that stretch, when he went 4-of-9 from the floor and committed a couple of turnovers, but he was good enough to get the job done despite failing to find a rhythm for most of the night.

“I’ve got to keep attacking for this team, like I have for the last, whatever, 13 years,” Nowitzki said. “This team needs me to score and keep being aggressive. My teammates obviously support me and find me in good positions where I can make plays. I’ve got to keep coming. I’ve got to keep being aggressive for this team. That’s what I tried to do in the fourth quarter.”

That’s what he always does in the fourth quarter. Nowitzki annually ranks among the league’s leading scorers in the final frame. He’s been even more productive in the final dozen minutes during the playoffs.

Nowitzki is averaging 9.6 points per fourth quarter in the playoffs. He’s hit double digits in the final dozen minutes in seven of the Mavs’ 13 games this postseason, including six of their victories.

“He’s our guy,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “In the fourth quarters, he’s going to touch the ball as frequently as we can get it to him. And if he misses a few shots, he’s not going to get deterred, he’s not going to get discouraged and he’s got the kind of will to keep going at it.” (source :

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