Notes On OKC vs. Dal Game 4 (The Only Thing That Can Stop Dirk is Dirk)

Tell me, how do you stop this?

Do you try to swipe it while he’s making the 2 or 3 dribbles he takes before he makes that shot? If you do that his height will allow him to find Dallas’ shooters outside.

Do you front him one on one? Seems to be the most plausible solution, and Nick Collison did as good a job as anyone can, but he still scored 40 points.

Do you double team? Of course, but apparently it doesn’t matter, because he can spin either left or right, jump on either foot, and still make that shot.

Let’s face it, Dirk is the definition of un-guardable. It’s like Kareem’s hook shot or Larry Bird’s 3. It’s money in the bank, and if you’re the defender the best thing you can do is hope he misses, and that does not happen much.

The only thing I note about this is that back in 2006, he was already unguardable. Everything we are saying now, about how amazing he is, about how he belongs in the top 20 if not top 10 basketball players in the world, about how he’s a sure bet into the Hall of Fame – all of these things we’ve all heard way back 5 years ago.

It’s not that we didn’t know Nowitzki can do all these things. Of course we’ve known. How can you miss a 7 footer who can shoot a twisting, one handed jumpshot from either hand and either foot?

The real test is if he can finally get over the disappointment of their failed Finals appearance and (it’s gonna be hard not to say this but I have to) – Not Choke.

Frankly, it’s the only thing that’s kept me watching this series. The Eastern Conference, while not all that great either, at least is exciting to watch because Miami is an exciting team. I like how they’ve finally found their rhythm and I enjoy seeing them execute their endgame (which is basically for LeBron to take it easy for 3 quarters then give it to him and get out of the way in the last 5 minutes).

The West? Not so much. KD is his usual fantastic self, but Westbrook is still a good 1 or 2 more years away from his prime. He still seems very raw at times and I’m not comfortable seeing him at number 2. Same for Ibaka as well. They both show flashes of brilliance, but they seem to at times try to hard or go too fast, lacking a better description. They all lack the methodical, execute – down – the – stretch – and – work – towards – getting – KD – a – good – shot system and rely too often on their youthful skill and exuberance to get things done. And as we all know by now, that’s usually not enough.

The big story for the Western Conference for me is if Dirk can do two things: One, get over the ghost of his previous Finals appearance and Two, keep it together when they get to the Big Show. It will be very interesting to see how they fare against Miami and they will be very well matched, but only if Dirk can bring on an All Star performance on cue like he did this game.

But if he doesn’t, and comes up short at any level in any way, then it’s Miami’s year no doubt about it.