Mavericks’ Dirk Nowitzki lacks MVP look vs. Phoenix Suns

dirk1.jpgPrior to Wednesday night's game between Dallas and Phoenix, I would have argued anyone on why Dirk Nowitzki deserved to be this year's MVP over Steve Nash.  Dirk was the game's MVP for 46 minutes. Unfortunately a regulation game lasts 48 minutes, and then there was the matter of two overtimes.

I think Stevie is by far the best pure point guard in the league.  But I also think that people tend to overrate what he's doing, especially since he has yet to lead the Suns to the NBA Finals.

On Wednesday Nash showed why he is the reigning 2-time league MVP, and Dirk showed why many are reluctant to award him his first.  After being down big early the Mavs had a 10-point lead late in regulation and were in position to put the game away.  To be fair, Josh Howard missed a big free throw and committed a horrible foul on a Nash 3-point attempt in the game's final minute.  But a missed free throw by Nowitzki could have put the Mavs up by four and was all too familiar for Mavs fans (remember Game 3 vs. the Heat?).

Nash scored 10 points in the final minute of regulation to send the game into overtime.  He wanted the ball in his hands, made his free throws, and hit a clutch three when his team needed him most.  Dirk didn't seem to call for the ball down the stretch, looking content to let Jet Terry or Stackhouse, or whoever take the big shots. Dirk took the last shot of the game, a great look from the elbow that was off the mark.  MVP's have to hit that shot, no matter what.

In the end what matters is who wins, and the Mavs didn't.  Amare Stoudamire turned in a huge performance for the Suns as well, but it would have been forgotten if not for the end of game heroics by Nash.  These team will meet again in Phoenix in a couple of weeks, but after Wednesday both teams know that Phoenix can beat the Mavs in the playoffs, something that may have been in doubt had the Mavs gone up 3-0 in the season series.  The Mavs can pass out Dirk for MVP T-Shirts and lobby the media if they like.  But the man himself has to do his part, and on Wednesday he came up short in front of a national TV audience.

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