So, last night's game sure was something to see, was it not? Dirk went from a poor shooting night, something like 5 for 12 in the first three quarters to, what Wes rightfully refer to as, the most dominating 4th quarter we'll see by any player this season.
It's been 4 games for the Mavs, and they've managed to go 3-1 while hovering around the 40% shooting mark. For a team that's embodied the "live by the jump shot, die by the jump shot" mentality, it's certainly got my eyebrows resting comfortably on the crown of my skull.
It's a knee jerk, but what does Dirk's game last night tell us about him this year.
1) No woman, no cry.
We're family here. I can share with you, right? From my past experiences, let me tell you, a crazy woman will screw up just about any man's mojo. Dirk had Crista Taylor (or whatever she was going by) all over, and apparently on top of, his jock last year. That threw him off his game, and towards the end he was more focused on wondering if he's become the German Shawn Kemp. Now, he's shed the crazy and is more focused then ever on having the German version of an "eff you" season. Look out NBA, it's 1937, and you're Poland.
2) Clock's ticking
Guys on the radio today brought up a Bill Simmons corollory that I forgot about, and that was that as soon as an NBA players' odometer reaches 1,000 games, it's the equivalent of the NFL running back hitting 30 years old. Everything goes to hell. Dirk's coming close to hitting that mark. He knows that he's coming close to the wall, he's got an aging point guard, an aging wing man and a questionably young bench. I envision an Indiana Jones situation where Dirk sees he's got no time left to roll under the closing wall. He's looking to make this his season.
3) Be what he is, not what we want
How many times have you watched the Mavericks and said to yourself, "man, I wish Dirk would post up or try and be a POWER forward rather than finesse his way around"? Avery tried to get Dirk to bulk up, post and play defense. Face it, that's not Dirk. He's finally come to the realization that he can't bang it down low, but he's got the speed and shot to throw other 4's off their game and create mismatch heaven for Rick Carlisle. Dirk basically stopped listening to everyone and is going to just be who he's going to be. That's a good thing.
4) Play for money, not country
This summer, Dirk didn't play for the German national team. That was a first for him (I think). He's rested, relaxed and focused Don't underestimate that.
Dirk's well rested, both body and mind this year. He's got a new toy in the chest with Marion and Josh hasn't even come back yet. He knows his window is closing, and he knows that his team won't give up if they're shooting poorly. This is a different team and motivated Dirk. Sure, it's a knee jerk, but damn if it doesn't feel good.