So for those of you who missed out on Part One, go check it out now. Here, we'll go down and list the 5th through 1st best individual performances by Mavericks this season. Spoiler alert: there's a lot of Dirk in this one.
5. Dirk Nowitzki against Denver, 3/19/12
Statline: 33 points, 12/19 FG, 3/4 3PT, 6/8 FT, 11 rebounds, 6 assists, a block
With eighteen points, six rebounds and six assists, the Dirk trip-dub alert was in full effect at halftime. Unfortunately, it was not in the works, but he still ended up with a dominant double-double. The Mavericks made a clear effort to run the offense through Dirk, and when he was hitting twisting, turning jumpers over outstretched hands, he was throwing a crisp pass to an open teammate to beat the double. Look no further than Brandan Wright's fifteen points on 7/9 shooting to see just how big of an impact Dirk was opening up the floor. While a triple double would have got headlines, Dirk's calculated destruction of Denver's defense was just as worthy without ten assists.
4. Delonte West and Vince Carter against Phoenix, 1/30/12
West Statline: 25 points, 9/12 FG, 5/6 3PT, 2/2 FT, 3 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals
Carter Statline: 21 points, 8/13 FG, 5/7 3PT, 2 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, no turnovers
So yeah, I cheated a little, but I just couldn't separate these two. Something had to go right offensively on the night the Mavericks scored their season-high in points. If Dirk only scored ten points, then things had to have gone nearly perfect. On this evening in Phoenix, West and Carter combined for a near perfect performance. It was not quite the Terry/Stojakovic show of the 2011 Finals run, but together the two teammates combined for 17/25 shooting from the floor and 10/13 from deep. Obviously, their lights out shooting will take center stage, but the two players also dished out a combined ten assists along with four steals, completing one of the most authoritative beat downs of the year.
3. Dirk Nowitzki against Houston, 4/18/12
Statline: 35 points, 10/18 FG, 3/4 3PT, 12/12 FT, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, a steal, no turnovers
The impressive statline becomes incredible when you realize that 21 of the 35 points scored were dropped on Houston in the final frame. Trailing by six entering that last quarter, Dirk delivered again, each bucket destroying Houston's will to win just a little more than the last. At the time, this was a crucial game in regards to playoff positioning, so Dirk turned in a performance just a huge as the game itself.
2. Rodrigue Beaubois against Utah, 1/27/12
Statline: 36 minutes, 22 points, 9/15 FG, 3/5 3PT, 6 rebounds, 7 assists, a steal, 4 blocks, 2 turnovers
This is the reason why I wince just a little bit when I hear Roddy's name being thrown around as completely expendable trade bait, something I'm guilty of as well. As inconsistent as he has been all three of his years as a Maverick, he is still capable of this, a game where he dominates across the board and is easily the best player on the floor for stretches at a time. Against Utah, he showed everything in his arsenal. He got to the rim, finished around shot blockers, made excellent off-ball cuts, set up teammates, started the break, and imposed stifling defense on both his man and when he helped. More importantly, he did not foul excessively, was not turnover prone despite long stretches as the sole ball handler, and did not settle for jump shots (hitting the ones that did come in rhythm of the offense). The Beaubois that was seen in Utah could be a force among this league, if he can become consistent with it.
1. Dirk Nowitzki against Utah, 3/3/12
Statline: 29 minutes, 40 points, 14/21 FG, 3-8 3PT, 9-10 FT, 6 rebounds, a steal
Forty points for the big German, but it easily could have been 50+ if it had been needed. He scored thirteen straight in the 2nd quarter, going to the bench early in the third as the Mavericks commanded a double digit, and would have been content to crack jokes with Brian Cardinal if not for a Utah rally that forced the sweats off half way through the 4th. Dirk made eleven of his thirteen two point attempts and had a four point play. This is way Dirk is one of the scariest shooters to ever play the game of basketball, why he's a first ballot Hall of Famer, why people say he revolutionized the PF position, and why he was able to take the Mavericks on his back to bring the team their first championship trophy. He's special.
Next week, the look for MMB Top 10 to delve into the best games of the 2011-12 season. Maybe a bonus segment listing the worst 5 games, too, because I seem to remember teams hitting buzzer beaters against us like a billion zillion times. So there's that. Also, click the button up at the top to follow me on Twitter!