As I actively decide not to write my English paper that I should be writing, I can't help but keep thinking about the performance that Dirk Nowitzki put on last night. In case you missed it (which you really shouldn't have), Dirk Nowitzki put together a magnificent 48-point performance on 12-15 shooting from the field, and an astonishing 24-24 (!) from the charity stripe. This wasn't any Kobe-esque performance either: he also put up 6 boards, 4 assists, and recorded 4 blocks.
Dirk, at the tender age of 32, very quietly put together another great season, averaging a steady 23-7-3 on while posting absurd shooting percentages of 52-39-89. Dirk hasn't received a first-place vote for MVP since 2006 win he actually won the award, despite putting up similar numbers along the way. Even if you disregard the fact that he's put an entire franchise on his back for over a decade now or that he may be the toughest player in the entire NBA to defend, both of which are incredibly true, he should be able to garner at least one first-place vote based on sheer statistics alone.
Why is that the case? Is it the Tim Duncan Effect - that is, that Dirk has been so consistently good for so long and without flair or drama, that voting for him would just be too boring? Because that argument holds no water. Is it that people have this notion that Dirk doesn't come through in the clutch? Because according to 82games.com, no one who attempted 22 or more FGs per 48 minutes of "Clutch Time" shot a higher percentage from the field or the line than Dirk (aside from his teammate, Jason Terry). Is it that there is an idea that Dirk doesn't perform well in the playoffs? Because he's averaged a 26-11-3 in the playoffs for his career, and is playing out of his mind these playoffs.
So I don't know what exactly the verdict is on Dirk. But I know that he will continue to make un-blockable turnarounds and fade away jumpers for the rest of these playoffs, and that the Mavericks will continue to be hands-down the best team of these playoffs if he does not start receiving the constant double team. As much as I'd like to believe that I'm a Thunder fan, I can safely say that my faith in that belief died a little bit yesterday as I found myself rooting for Dirk as he drained shot after shot after shot in a near perfect performance. Here's to a great conference finals, and to Dirk and J-Kidd finally getting the ring that they rightfully deserve.