Dirk Nowitzki: ‘We took a step back’
Not to file the 2011-12 Dallas Mavericks’ obituary prematurely, but it was the team’s senior-most member and reigning NBA Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki who succinctly put this strange trip of a season into perspective following Thursday night’s Game 3 stunner.
“I don’t think we took a step forward as a team,” Nowitzki said. “We took a step back.”
Few defending champions have had to make such a disappointing claim, let alone three games into the postseason. But, the Oklahoma City Thunder’s 95-79 wire-to-wire trashing of these stripped-down champs in a must-have game — their first playoff game on their home floor since Game 5 of last season’s glorious title run against the Miami Heat — uncovered all the blemishes that no one wanted to acknowledge. At least not until they became so painfully obvious that the sellout crowd donning the royal blue T-shirts with this postseason’s slogan “All In” was virtually all in the parking lots with six minutes to go.