At the beginning of the playoffs, I was pulling for the Oklahoma City Durrants, but I’ll admit it: the Dallas Mavericks have won me over. Rarely have I seen such a gritty, tough team.
Star forward Dirk Nowitzki woke up with a temperature over one hundred degrees yesterday. You could see how horrible he felt during the game, yet he soldiered on.
Through three periods, Nowitzki only had ten points.
Dallas center Tyson Chander said:
He was battling. Doctors trying to get it down, they really couldn’t keep it under control. He showed incredible heart. We all saw him go through walkthrough … coughing, wheezing. We really had to step up for him tonight. We just played with heart and passion. That’s an incredible team over there. In order to win, you have to go all out.
And they did. The rest of the Mavericks kept the game close. Several times the Heat tried to pull away, only to watch the Mavs fight their way back in the game.
In the fourth quarter, Nowitzki began driving to the hoop. He didn’t make many of his shots, but got to the line, where he was his usual solid free throw shooter.
An aggressive offensive performance by Jason Terry led to the Mavs outscoring the Heat 21-14 in the fourth.
The win ties the series at two. And I really like Dallas’ chances to win two of the next three.