HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — While the brass band continues to march around every shot and pass, each nail-bite and utterance of LeBron James, at the other end of the floor Dirk Nowitzki tip-toes around like a ninja on a mattress full of marshmallows.
Call him the Basketball Whisperer.
Of course, there is no reason to shout your own name from the rooftops when your performance and results scream louder than an air raid siren.
Another game, another win and another virtuoso effort – 29 points, six rebounds, three assists – by Nowitzki that is not just a contrast in style but of substance with the star-studded Miami monster.
Actually, Nowitzki has been twice as good as the Heat’s two stars during winning time. That’s fact, not opinion. Just check the numbers.
In the final five minutes with the score within five points, Nowitzki has scored 26 points in these Finals, hitting eight of 12 shots from the floor. That’s double what (Dwyane) Wade and James have combined to produce, with James contributing a grand total of zero points to the cause.
No wonder the Mavs have outscored the Heat by 15 points in those situations, which explains why the less talented team is the squad with a chance to pop champagne bottles Sunday night.
The unfolding story does seem to go beyond the cold, hard numbers as the basketball world watches it all unfold. There is a vastly different approach to the game at work here.