I've watched a good amount of Dirk Nowtizki's career. Not all of it, but a good amount. And I've never seen that before.
I've never seen Dirk play so, so, so awful but also be so lifeless about it. We've all seen Dirk have his share of poor games (the ones few and far between) but Dirk's usually making his presence felt, either by trying to get to the line or make good passes for his teammates.
Tonight I saw neither. Tonight I saw what an on-the-verge-of-retirement Dirk looks like. There was a sequence in the fourth quarter where Dirk missed a shot, then just stood around while Mirza Teletovic took a vacation before launching a three. Then Dirk got the ball on the next possession, faced up and just got stripped very easily.
Dirk jogged back up the court where he once again stood around while the ball swung to Marcus Thornton in the corner for a back-breaking 3-pointer that helped get the Nets back in the game. Dirk was lifeless. He looked like he didn't like playing basketball anymore.
I've never seen that before. I hope it's a somewhat long time before I see it again. Make no mistake, this was a brutal loss to the Nets. But I've also never seen a Mavericks team hang around like they did with Dirk at his absolute worst. Guess that's why Monta Ellis is here.
Because, yeah, Ellis wasn't necessarily fantastic. He took some weird shots. He took an awful jumper at the end of regulation. He didn't rotate over on the Joe Johnson drive on the possesion before. But hell, he pulled the Mavs asses out of the fire so much I'm surprised he didn't need an oxygen mask at the end of the game.
Monta scored 32 points, almost willed the Mavs back when the game was pretty much over in overtime, and was the only source of Mavericks offense. Dirk finished 2-of-12 with six points. Devin Harris was 4-of-15 with 11 points. For some reason Harris, not a good 3-point shooter, decided to take eight threes tonight.
Vince had his moments but was 4-of-13 from the field. Only Ellis and Samuel Dalembert showed up tonight, with some flashes of a competent Shawn Marion. Shane Larkin looked good in his brief run and perhaps he should have gotten a little more burn as Harris looked exhausted at points.
Dalembert was a monster. Almost a triple double (12 points, 15 rebounds, 7 blocks). It was probably the only time this season where I thought "why is Wright still in the game, GET DALEMBERT BACK IN THERE." The Mavs wasted what will (likely) easily be Dalembert's best game of the season.
This all goes to show how crucial Jose Calderon is to this team. Despite many people telling me he isn't that great, it's clear the Mavericks missed their point guard who never turns the ball over and shoots over 45 percent from three. WHO KNEW THAT'D MAKE A PLAYER VALUABLE. You learn something every day, I guess.
Dallas is now a half-game ahead of Phoenix for the final playoff spot in the West. The Mavs next play the Thunder.
I hope Dirk shows up. It feels weird thinking about that.