Last night the two German big men from Wurzburg each had impactful dunks, but for completely different reasons.
Dirk Nowitzki lofted the ball over the rim in his first dunk of the season off of a dish from Kyle Collinsworth. The act itself wasn’t as impressive as the fact that a 39-year-old with over 50,000 NBA minutes of wear and tear on his body can still get up.
“I think the whole bench got up and cheered,” Kleber said when asked about the Dirk’s dunk. “It’s what we usually only see in warmups. Not in practice, just in warmups.”
The rarity occurred midway through the second quarter, but Dirk thought he could have thrown one down even earlier.
“I had kind of a layup there, couple of offenses earlier. I thought maybe I should have dunked that one.” Nowitzki said. “Because I don’t get a lot of opportunities around the rim obviously. Then when Kyle made that drive and dished it to me, I said now or never. Felt good. Felt good.”
Dirk Nowitzki on his first dunk of the year:— Nick Angstadt (@NickVanExit) February 11, 2018
“I don’t get a lot of opportunities like that... When Kyle dished it to me it was now it never” pic.twitter.com/xjwkqYd16D
Maxi Kleber drove from the top of the key and with one dribble slammed the ball down over the outstretched arms of Julius Randle. A thunderous jam that put the Mavs up 125-121 with only 1:19, the feat was as impressive physically as it was impactful to the game itself.
Julius Randle gets splattered and flexed on by Maxi Kleber oh no pic.twitter.com/rb7zVRGk5h— Isaiah Wobmas (@World_Wide_Wob) February 11, 2018
Kleber admittedly bobbled the ball, and on the way up he was nervous that he would even complete the process. If we were using NFL terms, it would be called surviving the rim.
“I just tried to attack the basket, get the finish, was lucky on that one.” Kleber said.
How Kleber responded to his dunk took the entire spectacle to the next level. Some would call it a flex, some would say a stare down. Kleber just called it hyped.
“You’re in a game, you’re hyped. Emotions get in there. Usually if you get a dunk you get excited about it.”