Nowitzki plotting his own path to an NBA title

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Nowitzki plotting his own path to an NBA title


Dirk Nowitzki

NEW YORK - It is hard to imagine being under appreciated when you have been a 10-time All-Star, an NBA Most Valuable Player and the best European ever in the world’s greatest basketball league, but Dirk Nowitzki might just be.

A monumental performance by the jump-shooting German giant in Tuesday’s opener of the Western Conference Finals underlined how unstoppable the 7-foot player can be.

All that is lacking from Nowitzki’s prodigious resume is an NBA title and a championship could be in his future after he helped the Dallas Mavericks to a 121-112 win over Oklahoma City, pouring in a game-high 48 points.

Nowitzki, once derided as a “soft” player for plying his trade away from the basket despite his size, missed only three of 15 shots and converted a playoff record 24-of-24 free throws as the desperate Thunder pushed, pulled and pounded him. When a big player guarded him, Nowitzki dribbled by.

When defenders played him perfectly, Nowitzki faded back and launched an exquisitely aimed off-balance shot. “He’s one of the best players I’ve seen at that position offensively,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “He scores on just a variety of shots. And a lot of shots, you don’t think he has a chance of making, but he does.”

Nowitzki, the ninth player chosen in the 1998 Draft, has gone to the playoffs 11 years in a row with Dallas but only once reached the final. In 2006, the Dallas won the first two games of the championship series at home against Miami, but lost the next four as the Heat’s Dwyane Wade took charge.

“After ’06 ... every year is a new opportunity, and we’re just trying to go for it,” Nowitzki said. “I think we’re a better team than then. We’re deeper.”

Dallas swept the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference semifinals and during the nine-day wait for the Thunder to beat the Memphis Grizzlies, Nowitzki, 32, didn’t rest his weary bones. He worked on his shooting.

“I was in the gym a lot every night, and it paid off,” he said.

Nowitzki plots his own path. As a teenager, he decided against developing his hoop skills at the U.S. college level for fear coaches would try to change his game. Instead, he was tutored by former German pro Holger Geschwindner, who stressed shooting and passing. The path has proven golden for Nowitzki, the first European to win the NBA’s MVP award and the first to surpass 20,000 career points, with one lone exception, an NBA title.


한글 관련 기사 [OSEN]
`노비츠키 48점` 댈러스, 서부컨퍼런스 결승서 `선승`

`독일 병정` 더크 노비츠키가 48점을 넣은 댈러스 매버릭스가 오클라호마시티 선더를 꺾고 서부컨퍼런스 결승의 서전을 승리로 장식했다.

댈러스는 18일(이하 한국시간) 미국 텍사스주 댈러스 아메리칸 에어라인스 센터서 열린 2010-2011 NBA 서부컨퍼런스 결승 1차전서 오클라호마시티에게 121-112로 승리했다.

댈러스는 경기 초반 노비츠키가 자유투와 드리블 돌파에 이은 덩크슛으로 득점을 올린데 힘입어 8-2까지 앞섰다. 하지만 오클라호마시티는 3점슛 2방을 성공시키며 13-12로 역전에 성공했고 이후 접전이 펼쳐졌다.

댈러스는 2쿼터 2분 46초를 남기고 패스트 브레이크 상황서 제이슨 테리의 패스를 받은 숀 매리언이 덩크슛을 성공시키며 46-45로 다시 앞서 나갔다.

이어진 공격 상황서 댈러스는 노비츠키의 레이업슛과 미들 레인지 점프슛에 힘입어 점수 차를 벌렸다. 댈러스는 전반을 55-48로 앞선 채 마쳤다.

댈러스는 3쿼터서도 노비츠키가 자유투로 점수를 차곡차곡 쌓아가며 상대에게 추격을 허용하지 않았다.

4쿼터서 오클라호마시티는 에이스 케빈 듀랜트가 힘을 내며 막판 추격을 펼쳤다. 오클라호마시티는 경기 종료 4분 18초를 남기고 99-104까지 추격했지만 경기 막판 테리와 노비츠키에게 득점을 허용하며 결국 패했다.

노비츠키는 48점, 6리바운드, 4도움을 기록하며 팀을 이끌었고 테리 역시 24점을 올리며 공격서 제 몫을 다했다. 제이슨 키드는 11개의 도움을 배달했다. 오클라호마시티는 듀랜드가 40점, 8리바운드 5도움을 기록하며 맹활약 했지만 패하고 말았다.
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