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2011 nba finals

The Heat Get Dirked, and Suddenly It’s a Series

When Doris Burke, one of the few sideline reporters who seem to understand that the job is to ask questions and not to preen, took Dirk Nowitzki aside after his manic, already legendary wild run to give the Mavericks a Game 2 NBA Finals 95–93 win over the Miami Heat, tying the series at one, it almost seemed wrong to even ask him to talk. He had just pulled off one of the wildest four minutes in NBA Finals history, and now he was supposed to stop immediately and talk about it? This is like bombarding a woman who had just given birth with "so, what was that like?" questions, or interrogating someone who, seconds before, survived jumping out of an airplane without a parachute.

This video doesn't encapsulate the whole run, just the end of it, but in case you want to watch Dirk hop up and down a lot:


If you're looking for a moment when the game turned, and, perhaps more accurately, when most of America turned the game off, it was this:


Fortunately for the Mavericks, after that little succession of happy dances, the Heat sort of turned the game off, too. Wade wouldn't score another point, and from 6:19 on, the Mavs outscored the Heat 22–5, with three of those points coming from a wide-wide-wide open Mario Chalmers three-pointer that led to Dirk's final driving game winner.

It was a lovely little six-minute stretch for Heat haters, who might not have their vitriol sated so much if the Heat had a fan base that didn't check out early as well, if they ever checked in at all. The only sad part about the Mavs' run is that it didn't much silence the crowd the way a crazy run by the road team is supposed to; they were already pretty silent.

With six minutes left last night, it looked even more like the Heat ascendance, LeBron, Wade, and Bosh jumping over people and bombing three-pointers and posing like they did in their big unveiling almost a year ago now. That's probably going to happen eventually, the Heat getting that title that they so clearly believe themselves to deserve. But it might not happen in the next week, the way it appeared it would about eleven hours ago. The coronation is not upon us. The Heat are gonna have to fight for this, after all. Thank heavens. Thank Dirk.

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Photo: Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images