Nowitzki: ‘West Is Wide Open’

DALLAS – For a team with the Mavericks’ recent playoff history, planning anything but the very next game is a dangerous proposition.

Dirk Nowitzki knows better than to assume anything, having lived through first-round playoff exits in three of the last four years.

But the landscape for Nowitzki and the Mavericks became clear late Tuesday night when the start date for the next round of the playoffs was announced.

The winner of this Mavericks-Trail Blazers first-round series will begin the conference semifinal series Monday against the winner of the Lakers-Hornets series.

The Mavericks and Lakers both own 3-2 leads and both have chances to close out their respective series on the road Thursday night in Game 6. The Mavericks will have to break the cycle of home teams winning in their playoff and regular season series’ with the  Blazers, the home team has won all nine meetings this year, if they don’t want to host a Game 7 back here Saturday night.

Nowitzki said the fear factor for all of the teams on the verge moving on to the next round is non-existent, and has been for a while now.

“Yeah, I mean I think coming into the playoffs the way it already shaped up down the stretch, the West is wide open,” Nowitzki said. “I think that’s what you see now in the playoffs. Teams can be beaten. No team really looks unbeatable right now. So we’ve just got to keep on plugging and keep on fighting and hopefully get a big win on Thursday and go from there.”

Again, the Blazers and that raucous Rose Garden crowd expected for Game 6 will have something to say about if and when the Mavericks move on. The Blazers face elimination in Game 6 for the third straight season, having lost to Houston in a Game 6 in 2009 and to Phoenix last season in a Game 6.

“I don’t think this team has packed it in – no,” Blazers coach Nate McMillan said. “It’s not over. We’ve got a game to win Thursday.”

49 Comments

  1. sanzo says:

    i love mavs, i am number one fans of DALLAS MAVERICKS and DIRK NOWITZKI ..
    without Dirk, i think mavs is no chance

  2. Michel de Nostredame says:

    Yes, the teutonic thrasher, Dirk Nowitzki, has seen the signs in the stars, and now knows that it is just a matter of time before he is hoisting up the O’Brien over his head. The hopes of the poor pretenders will come to naught against the iron-willed reef of his unbreakable determination. The Dallas Mavericks will utterly humiliate the unknowing lamb now being led into slaughter, the Los Angeles Lakers. They will be sent crying uncontrollably from the scene of their desolation, the parquet floor. It will be just a preview of the destruction they will bring against anyone daring to contrast their superiority. Oklahoma City, Miami, Boston, or Chicago, whoever dares to raise their head will be crushed.

    The Dallas Mavericks are predestined to greatness this year. Nobody will prove but a thistle in their shoe on their Sherman’s March to the Sea, and to the ultimate domination of all that they survey.

    It would take a miracle were they to lose even one of the next twelve games that should be the maximum they use to prove to the world that they are the greatest basketball team that ever trod the parquet floor in any basketball game.

    The world is warned. The world can do nothing to stop them. Hide yourselves underground, stifle your terror-stricken crying, it will do no good. The Dallas Mavericks are coming!

  3. rhainner says:

    i agree with mavs fan, sebbe, mike, and sphincter.

  4. rhainner says:

    i agree with ken. the mavs will win the championship. the mavs could win in 6 games in both lakers and thunder. the mavs are a strong team with the help of terry, haywood, chandler, stokojavic, and others do not forget *CARON BUTLER*.

  5. Hunter says:

    The Mavs are under the most pressure of any first round team, thats a fact. Dirk must prove the doubters wrong that they can advance this year. They can do it, but the factors are dangerous against them(Blazers are potent). Dirk must welcome this opportunity and embrace it with the competitive spirit of a champion.

    GO MAVS and GO DIRK

  6. Fan says:

    The West is loaded with good teams. The east is more lopsided. A few elite teams and those that really shouldn’t have been in the playoffs. That’s just my opinion!

  7. Fan says:

    I love how people give New Orleans so little credit! They have a really good team and they’re playing their hearts out against the defending champs! those who think this series should have ended quicker are obviously not watching the games. I’m a Laker fan and I think New Orleans would give any team a run for their money! Hoping the lakers close it out tonight though!

  8. jack says:

    the only place that nowitzki is going
    back to germany to start is vacation

  9. Ken says:

    Mavs Will win the west and the Title this year!! In case you didn’t know now you do. Lakers have their hands full with the Hornets while Dallas blew out the Hornets by 30 the last game of the season. Dallas will sweep the Lakers and beat the Thunder!! It is Dallas Time!!!

  10. RUBEN says:

    I WILL BE VERY UPSET IF MY PREVIOUS COMMENTS UNDER MODERATION IS NOT POSTED

  11. Go Dubs! says:

    None of this will matter when nobody in America will be able to pay for cable to watch cos the cost of oil and food is rising while employement continues to stay stagnant. Wall Street continues to wage war on us and Washington against whoever has oil they want or currency that threatens our dollar. Millions and millions of innocent people are being thrown under the bus or killed and everyone in here wants to argue about who is going to win the West or Finals. We’re all losers people, don’t you get it? Wake the F up.

    • BostonF says:

      Fool! Go post somewhere else. This is NBA.com what do you expect people to talk about? People aren’t ignorant of what’s happening.

  12. RUBEN says:

    LETS GO MAVS

  13. Terry Ruffin says:

    I think The MAVS are goin 2 end it tonight and beat the lakers next round and take it from there

    • inonutten says:

      There is a better chance the Blazers will win tonight with the fans help as it has been all season. Game seven will no doubt be won by Dirk as the fans sit on their hands and stuff hotdogs in their pie holes.

  14. David says:

    Dirk is one of FOUR players in the entire history of the NBA to average 25 points and 10 rebounds in the PLAYOFFs. He’s had a spectacular Hall of Fame Career and some comments here simply expose your ignorance to the facts.

  15. Mavs have all the reasons in the world to be the NBA champs this postseason, they still have big Dirk and ageless Jason to go with T-Chand and the Jet and all the players in that deep roster…. it’s just that they always lose the wrong game at the wrong time…. they’re tough, certainly because of Chandler… so I agree with Dirk saying that the West is wide open for them….

  16. lew says:

    dirk will close the series in 6. i have no doubt that they can beat any team in the pos season on the road.. yup, they have alot of dissapointment in the last couple of years, but they are not the same team dis season, especially when they get chandler during the offseason. and the lakers? hate me or not but they are not the team to beat in the playoffs, and they will not 3peat, nuff said.. dirk was right that the west is wide open. though, the lakers will win the series against the hornets, but there’s no way that they can beat the mavs in the second round.. kobe era is dead crap.. bye bye championship.. mavs all the way..

  17. lol says:

    ur all geeks stop talking about bball like u can actually play or know anything about it

  18. bolakobilog says:

    Dirk said it best. The west is up for grabs where the regular season/playoff standings don’t matter. Its how the playoffs should be, only the best teams allowed in the next round. Unlike the east where there are dominant teams and you know what team will get to the 2nd round. I agree with dirk.

  19. Kanishk says:

    Talk all you want about the talent shifting from the West to the East with the likes of Amare and Melo and Billups moving to NYK this season and other players before them. But the West is still far more competitive than the East. Three series in the west are still at 3-2 and only one in the East with OKC vs Denver having been a tight affair altogether as well. The other three in the East turned out to be rather formalities, Philly gave Miami good games but seriously Miami was never going to come close to losing that series.

    Teams with losing records in the East play in the playoffs whereas teams with winning records dont get a chance in a tougher conference.

    A balance of power is required perhaps?

  20. KObeSUCKS says:

    Lot of LAKERS fan here.. don’t make your hopes high cause LA’s will not make it to finals cause look how they are playing right now! struggling to NOLA without West.. now that sucks for lakers..overrated.. and all of you saying that Blazers is a better team than mavs?? LOOK AT THE STAT stupid people… they barely won in game 4.. who the hell in the right mind would say blazers is a better team than mavs. well think again stupid.. mavs by 6.. and against lakers? mavs in 5…!!! LAKERS SUCKS BIG TIME!!!

    • Gary says:

      I agree. LA should have had this series in 5. Chris Paul is a great player but he shouldn’t be hurting a team with two dominant 7 footers, Kobe, Odom, Artest and Fisher practically by himself.

    • Big Joke says:

      You may be right on the fact that the Mavs might just be a better team but we all can clearly see that you’re nothing but a Mavs fan animated by the spirit of fanaticism and therefore your opinion on the Blazers could not be any surprising to us here. I mean you’re too obvious my friend.
      Come back another day !!!

  21. rhainner says:

    he is better player than you!

  22. rhainner says:

    dont say that to nowitzki (herr)

  23. rhainner says:

    nowitzki is improving in the playoffs. he is improving his points, rebounds, and 3pt shooting. if he keeps playing like this or better, there is a possible that the mavs will win the nba championshp.

  24. Herr says:

    Ha ha. Like the Mavs stand a chance? Only reason they lead this series is because of poor officiating. In game 1,2 and 3 the Mavs have had the edge in FTA. Besides that, the Blazers have nearly dominated every other stat. The Blazers have made more FGs than the Mavs in every game. Take away the ref support and hand it to the Lakers, and the Mavs are getting swept. If they are struggling this bad and need ref help against the Blazers, they’re going to get destroyed by the Lakers like they did in the regular season.

    Dirk needs to do the league a favor and retire. He’s useless dead meat. He owes Cuban a ton of money and time. He can’t win a championship, all he does is take a jumpshot and flop. He’s horrible at defense and can’t take it to the rim at all. The only thing making his career going is that he plays in the 4th largest market in the NBA. If it weren’t for that, he’d be the nobody his skill level has him at.

    He needs to shut his mouth and play ball. He’s got more points from FTs than FGs.

    • Sebbe says:

      Without Dirk this Mavs team wouldnt even make it to the playoffs, without Dirk they would still be a lottery team. Dirk does not flop, Dirk is the best shooting big man of all time. What the hell are you even talking about, refs were against Dallas in every game, Portland players got every call. The only thing that is useless as dead meat is you.

    • Sphincter says:

      herr, you are possibly one of the dumbest people ever. your probly a laker fan, or just a nerd who looks at free thow attempts and field goals. if the mavs still had caron butler, they would have beat portland in 4 maybe 5. Dirk has nobody to work with. and how does he owe cuban money when he averages 25 points and ten rebounds for him every night? every other good team in the nba is sctacked with all stars. dirk has no one else to work with. the lakers, celtics, and heat are all stacked. if dirk had one more for sure scorerer with him, the mavs would be way better than every team in the west. and dont even talk about poor officiating cause the mavs got enough of that in the 2006 finals.

    • Mike says:

      Herr, watch dirk walk all over them. he’s done it before and he’ll do it again. about a decade worth of all star status? Dead meat? hahaha you dont know your NBA. he IS the best shooting big man of all time. And dallas os a powerhouse because of him. Also the mavs have a 3-2 lead… Pretty sure thats because of dirk. He is simply nasty, and has more playoff experience than just about anyone on portlands team. Lakers are gonna be tough, but when we DO beat the blazers, i dont think we’ll get swept. So once you get your facts straight on who some of the best talent is in the NBA, you can post something like this. Other than that, i have never heard of you before, and everyone knows who dirk is. So when i see you on the court, you can talk. Dirk is sick. And so is dallas. Enough said.

    • Mavs Fan says:

      Mr/Mrs Herr, it is very apparent that you have not been watching much basketball, let alone the playoffs with both eyes open. And it is also apparent that you have not been watching much basketball over the last 13 years. It has been Dirk for the last several years that has kept the Dallas Maverick name out there for anyone to talk about, both good and bad; since he gets blamed for all the bad but doesn’t get the credit that he so richly deserves because of people like you. Please forgive me if this comes out wrong for you, but you have got to get your facts straight. For the last 10+ years, Dirk has been taking this team on his back and making things happen. He has scored over 22,000 points, leads the team in any way he can, but at the same time, he needs support from the other members on the team, and he has gotten that more this season as a whole, and some in the past, but he can’t carry the team all by himself all the time. As far as the dead meat comment, I guess you must be looking at yourself in a reflection, because there is no way that he is dead meat and if you listen to the commentators all over the media they will tell you that he is a guard in a forwards body, he is one of the few 7 footers who can dribble the ball from end to end, had an incredible slant shot that is almost impossible to block. Yes he is not an inside man grinding it out in the paint a lot, even thought he has tried to add that to his repertoire, but he is a jump shot machine and makes a lot of his gravy at the line; so when you say he has more free throws than field goals, that’s my dear is for a reason!!! Maybe you need to take up needle point or puzzles and put your mind to better use; just a thought.

  25. BEN10 says:

    What Dirk really meant is that the West is wide open because there are a lot of good teams and each teams is capable of beating every team or the top 8 teams in the West. unlike the East that only 4 teams really dominate the conference. “wildwild WEST” that what I call it.

    • Michael Tran says:

      Well said, Ben. So far only OKC has defeated their first round match-up with Denver and that was so walk in the park. The Spurs got a miracle 3-pointer from Gary Neal just to survive another game versus 8th seed Memphis and Dallas and the Lakers are in a seesaw battle with the Hornets and Blazers. The higher seed is no longer given the series win. It is fought over and earned. There is no clear cut winner for best of the west just yet and won’t be decided until the final game is played because every team in the West deserves it but only one can win it. I’m a die-hard Mavericks fan and would love to see them back in the finals (Yes, I remember what happened versus Miami, insert joke here) and Dirk has a very good point in the West is up for grabs. Whoever has the most fight and determination will get it.

  26. Domitian says:

    I dont agree with Zzanzabar. The Spurs still have their 3 main guys that won 4 championships. If that doesnt say they dont know how to get out of the west then I dont know what does.

    Quite frankly the playoffs are about matchups and the Spurs got an unlucky matchup because Memphis’ strengths are where the Spurs struggle. Apart from Duncan they are short on bigs who can defend the post / inside and Marc and Zbo are dominating the paint. The red rocket is a perimeter big and Splitter, SAS best hope at containing Arthur isn’t getting enough minutes to learn, adjust and enforce his presence on these games. This is forcing the Spurs guards to sag off their men which gives the likes of Mayo, TA and Conley space for dribble penetration.

    TBH the Spurs are scoring enough points to win these games. They just need to defend better, and from what I can see Memphis win this in 6.

  27. tata says:

    If Dallas can’t find a way to win on the road they are done. I see this series going 7 games and seriously doubt they could get past the Lakers in the next round. I really think the scariest team in the west is the Grizzlies. They are too young and inexperienced to know they should be losing. That Pau for Marc Gasol trade is looking better for Memphis all the time. It would be fun to watch them go at it in the WCF.

    • George_the_greek says:

      Dude you people should cut the Marc-Pau comparison. Pau is a perfect match for Kobe and the triangle offense because of his versatility and his huge talent. Marc is perfect for the Grizzlies because of the toughness he gives to their front line. It’s THAT simple.

    • VOICE OF REASON says:

      I see what you’re saying, but Memphis doesn’t win this trade unless they win more championships with Marc than L.A. does with Pau. So far L.A. is up 2 – 0. Clearly L.A. is winning this trade…that’s just a fact

  28. Jason says:

    Recent playoff collapses aside, the Mavs have a great shot to make a deep run this year, mainly because they’re tougher than in year’s past. With Chandler and Stevenson, this team has some nastiness to it, and enough depth to where Dirk can get some help each night. I just listened to a podcast that touched on this actually…www.thecrabdribble.com.

  29. DJ says:

    Yeah, we need new team that will represent the WEST.. ‘ OKLAHOMA Thunder” or “Portland Blazers”.

  30. George says:

    Yeah, west is wide open. Give her the ball and she’ll nail a three :))) . Whatever, seems to me that mavs will finally get past the first round. But lakers are coming up so the shouldn’t let their hopes up. Hope we win game 6 so we don’t have to push ourselves to 7. Pau needs to headbutt the wall and wake himself up, while someone must finally give Andrew the ball. If i was the point guard id let him take 15-20 shots per game , not 8-10. Anyway, despite being a laker fan im gonna say this: GO GRIZZLIES. It’s so nice that a small team has made correct buildup and is now a threat in the playoffs. Who knows, perhaps they can get past the thunder, though that’s very unlikely. Looking forward to LAL vs OKC in the confrence finals and BULLS vs BOS in the east finals.

    • Hammertime says:

      The Lakers are coming? You mean the team that is struggling to beat the worst playoff team in the West? I bet you believe that Kobe is really hurt too. The Mavs would have a great chance to beat L.A. as would OKC. If the Lakers somehow make it out of the West, there only chance to win the Title would be against Boston as they would have homecourt advantage. No way the Lakers take down the Bulls or Heat when they have to start the series on the road.

      • lol says:

        Well looks like the Lakers might finally be getting their game together, I mean yea they were tied with new orleans at 2-2 but they blew them out since then and are advancing. Also worst team in the west? yeah maybe but honestly they are right there with portland, gotta give the edge to portland but not by much. Anyway I have to say that if new orleans was in the west they could beat at least five of those teams in the east besides miami boston and chicago I can see hornets taking the others, even miami would take 6 games to finish hornets and they would strugle with cp3 seeing how miami gets carved up by teams with solid point guards and cp3 is top 3 PG in the leage no doubt in my mind.

      • lol says:

        and of course I meant if new orleans was in the east.

  31. Zzanzabar says:

    By ‘wide open’ what he is really saying is that IF they can beat the Blazers then they just MIGHT beat the Lakers and have a real CHANCE against either the Grizzlies or the Thunder. Talk about a 3 cornered bank shot! He still doesn’t get it. It all comes down to the best ‘4 out of 7′ in the toughest Conference in the playoffs and only the Lakers have come out on top in those battles for the past 3 consecutive years.

    The Spurs are a perfect example of what the NBA is truly about. They are a GREAT regular season team (this year one of the top two), but just making their way OUT of the Western playoffs seems insurmountable. Teams like Boston and L.A. know that it comes down to this, NOT home court advantage but home PLAYOFF advantage. It is their history in the playoffs that define these two teams and what gives them the TRUE edge. Memphis, Oklahoma, Portland (and maybe Denver) will be the new faces of the West, but until they get it through their collective heads that it is the best ‘4 out of 7′ against the same team that will ultimately win it all, they will be just one step behind teams like Boston and L.A.