(Manager's note: Matt shared this as a comment, but it was just too good that I had to squeeze it on the front page somehow.)
"Dirk at Top of the Key"
The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Maverick nine that day:
The score stood 108 apiece, with but few possessions more to play.
And then when Ellis lost the ball, and Carter did the same,
A sickly silence fell upon the few Mavs fans at the game.
A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest
Clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
They thought, if only Dirk could get but a shot to heave -
We’d put up even money, now, with Nowitzki at the key.
But Monte Ellis preceded Dirk, as did also Vince Carter,
And the former was a wildman and the latter missed his three pointer;
So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy rot,
For there seemed but little chance of Nowitzki getting a shot.
But Carter’s defense forced Melo’s pass, to the wonderment of all,
And Ellis, much maligned and guarding Smith, blocked the cover off the ball;
And when the shot clock expired, and the men saw what had occurred,
The score was still tied at 108 and ten seconds left to work.
Then from 20,000 Knicks fans throats there rose a lusty swear;
It rumbled through the Garden, it rattled in Times Square;
It knocked upon the Wall Street and recoiled upon the sea,
For Nowitzki, mighty Nowitzki, was advancing to top the key.
There was ease in Nowitzki’s manner as he stepped into his place;
There was pride in Nowitzki’s bearing and a smile upon Dirk’s face.
And when, responding to the roars, he lightly wiped his brow,
No stranger in the crowd could doubt ‘twas Nowitzki’s last shot now.
Thousands of eyes were on him as he dried his hands of sweat;
Ten thousand tongues cursed him and he ignored their every threat.
Then with the writhing Melo ground tightly to his hip,
Defiance gleamed in Nowitzki’s eye, a sneer curled Nowitzki’s lip.
And now the leather-covered sphere shot hurtling through the air,
And Dirk stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.
Leaving the hands of the sturdy German the ball unheeded sped-
"That ain’t my best shot," said Nowitzki. "No good!" the fans proudly said.
From the benches, orange with people, there went up a muffled roar,
Like the beating of the storm-waves on a stern and distant shore.
"He missed! The shot has missed!" shouted someone on the stand;
And its likely it would have missed had it not been Dirk who raised his hand.
With a smile of Maverick clutch-ness, great Nowitzki’s visage shone;
He stilled the rising tumult; he bade the ball go on;
He stepped back away toward midcourt as the spheroid neared the rim;
And when the ball bounced long and hard, the shot’s chances looked grim.
"Long!" cried the maddened thousands, and echoed in relief "thank God";
But a second bounce off the front rim and the audience was awed.
They saw the ball jump high and straight, they saw the momentum stop,
And they knew that the ball was destined to begin its fateful drop.
The sneer is gone from crowd now, their teeth all clenched in fear;
Their hearts pound with cruel violence too scared to let out a cheer.
And now the gravity ceases the ball, and now she lets it go,
And now the air is shattered by the force of Nowitzki’s blow.
Oh, somewhere in that favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
But there is no joy in New York – mighty Nowitzki knocked them out.