Smack / May 12, 2009 / 6:05 am

Dirk drops 44 just to stay alive; LeBron brings brooms to Atlanta

Dirk Nowitzki (photo. Monte Isom)

Dirk Nowitzki (photo. Monte Isom)

Facing elimination, Dirk Nowitzki played like Video Game Dirk last night. And not just because his numbers were ridiculous (44 pts, 13 rebs), but because video games can’t account for things like heart and nerves and a conscience, there was no trace of the big-game/crunch-time meltdown Dirk critics had come to expect. He was closer to a machine in the fourth quarter, scoring 19 in the quarter including the go-ahead bucket on a pretty fadeaway over K-Mart. Dirk added a couple free throws later to stretch the lead to four, but Carmelo hit a three with 3.1 seconds left to bring Denver within one. The Nuggets sent Jason Terry to the line, and after he missed the second freebie, ‘Melo didn’t even have enough time to get off his hopeless 90-foot prayer … If it wasn’t for Dirk, we’d all be talking about how Carmelo became a certified postseason beast in this series. ‘Melo dropped 41 points (15-29 FG) to go with 11 boards and five steals, and generally caused Antoine Wright to bleed from his eyes. But now the talk will be more about ‘Melo perhaps getting himself suspended for Game 5. In the second quarter, ‘Melo got tangled up with Wright and gave him a kind of slap/shove aimed at the face. The refs determined the contact was on the shoulder, which really just seemed like an excuse to keep ‘Melo in the game. From our view, it looked like he popped him on the cheek … In all there were seven technicals in the game: Terry, Wright, Dampier, Brandon Bass, Carmelo, Chauncey and Linas Kleiza … Loved Jason Kidd (13 pts, 10 rebs, 6 asts) and Chauncey (24 pts, 7 asts) going at each other like the two vets at the playground. One time Kidd burned Chauncey when he crossed him over and not only made him touch the floor, CB just froze altogether like he didn’t want to move and possibly break an ankle … For about five minutes, we could’ve bought C-Webb and Barkley‘s suggestion that the Hawks secretly wanted to just get things over with and get swept by the Cavs. After all, a loss last night meant the Hawks wouldn’t have to put off their inevitable summer break any longer, nor would they have to travel to “go home” since they were already in Atlanta. (We can’t confirm or deny the rumors that over the weekend Acie Law scheduled a “Season’s Over!” party for Tuesday night at ATL’s Dreamz nightclub.) … After keeping it close in the first half, the Hawks went scoreless for the first five minutes of the second, falling behind double-digits and looking ripe for the blowout everyone expected. Only ATL didn’t go away. Flip Murray started getting buckets, including a buzzer-beating runner at the end of the third, and the Hawks were right there at the start of the fourth quarter before the Cavs started slinging threes: LeBron, Delonte and Mo Williams were hitting ‘em down the stretch, while ATL couldn’t throw one in … Marvin Williams‘ least favorite sequence when he watches this game again on film: Early in the fourth when he got snuffed at the rim by Joe Smith, then got crammed on by Delonte (21 pts, 6 asts), sending the Cleveland bench into seizures … Mike Brown said in an interview aired during the game that LeBron reminds him of Tim Duncan with his basketball IQ. As if on cue, right after that Mo Williams tried to morph into Sik Wid It and turned the ball over on a botched spin move … Kenny Smith‘s new nickname for LeBron (27 pts, 8 rebs, 8 asts): “The Most Dangerous Man in the World.” How’s he just gonna jack DMX‘s handle like that? … Aside from the usual “rusty” versus “rested” stories we’re going to get as the Cavs wait for their conference finals matchup, here’s one potential red flag to think about: 14-for-26 at the line in Game Four. That’s 53 percent. And that’s with Ben Wallace only playing like 10 minutes a night … Another interesting point brought up by the TNT crew: Which direction should the Hawks go from here? Do they need to look at Joe Johnson (18 pts, 7 asts) and Josh Smith (26 pts, 8 rebs), decide to build around one, and trade the other? If that’s the case, we’d have to go with Joe even though he struggled throughout the playoffs. Josh is as much of a #1 Alpha Dog as Shawn Marion was in his prime. Which is to say, he isn’t … A couple coaching updates from around the League: The Suns removed Alvin Gentry‘s interim title and made him the official head coach (good move), while the Raptors did the same for Jay Triano (um…). And in what should come as a surprise to no one, the Warriors announced they’re done with Chris Mullin. If you’re St. John’s, don’t you have to at least explore the possibility of just letting Mullin run the show in some kind of director role and see if he can bring your program back to life? … We’re out like Joe and Josh …

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  • q

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    Good thing Nuggets lost this game, since if Melo will be suspended it’s much better to play withiut him against anyway-dead Mavs than first game against the LAkers next round.

  • The Bloke

    dirk is soft, dirk is not clutch… yeah, right

  • alex “robocop” murphy

    first!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://www.nba.com smoove chips

    Not too many times in life you get to right a serious wrong. The league just got a hand wrapped gift from the gods in that game.the mavs won and melo acted up.hello opportunity !!

    suspend melo.
    Results 1.nuggets fans are equally pissed at these calls
    2.the mavs get a ‘chance’ to make this a series
    3.if the mavs lose the series they can’t say shyt
    4.mo games,mo paper(it’s a recession right ?)
    Checkmate.

    As a matter of pride how on earth does marvin williams let d.west t-bag him to end the season ?

  • Rafa23

    say what you want about dirk, but playing like that while being in a horrible personal situation(i heard he is engaged to the woman and she may be pregnant) is just unbelievable.

  • http://www.kikaayacollegeschool.net smity far away

    @ alex robocop murphy

    look in the mirror. see a lame. that is you.

    St. John’s should hook up with mullin asap. but i expect to see him land another league job before he looks at other opportunities. That is unless, Rowell doesn’t dirty up his name to other front office execs…

    can dallas come back from a 3-0 (especially if melo’s gone?) i don’t think so. denver is still dangerous enough without carmelo (when playing the mavs) as they are with him (because of big shot and the denver crowd’s energy fueling their bench)

  • http://www.kikaayacollegeschool.net smity far away

    and i’m not a big dirk advocate but he was impressive. that was a great game. if we could get 6 other teams to match up as well denver and dallas do then the league could make a run at rivaling baseball’s level of fandom…

    maybe someday…

  • mules

    Delonte’s cram and Williams was nice, but Dahntay ate Josh Howard’s soul with his steal/dunk combo. And could Dirk’s fadeaway be the most undefendable shot in the L? When he’s hitting that shot he’s just about unstoppable.

  • dk AKA a Texas fan

    Omg I fucking knew it dog, the Nuggets suck and Dallas will crush them from here on out! Just like the over rated Lakers will fall to Houston, the Mavericks will make history and come back and win 4-3… I fucking told ya so!!! Just remember you wont here from me after Texas losses because ill be busy….

  • dk AKA a Texas fan

    @8 Yeah it could have been a decade ago, if he could have hit them late in games over the past ten years it would have been…. Something tells me thats not gonna change much and it wouldnt really matter if it did at this point. I bet when hes 50 playing at the Y that shot will be unstoppable in the 4th though……

  • flavur

    Don’t worry the nuggets will close this thing out at home. And I think the only reason that josh smith isn’t the man at Atlanta because mike woodson didn’t want that josh smith has said countless times that he would like to develop a jump shot but coach mike woodson says that he should e more of the shawn Marion type of player so it’s really not joshs fault that he plays that way the hawks just haven’t developed him in areas that would make him an all around/versatile player. Well I guess that bullshit that the raptors talked about getting tougher and more aggresive was straight bullshit they fired a tough minded coach (Sam Mitchell) for a soft coach that their star player doesn’t even like that much (jay triano) and I bet the reason why he was hired was because brian colangelo is in love with people who aren’t American so bosh will be traded. I think that they should agree to that beasley trade cause bargnani played well late so he might become their new guy along with beasly. THAT’S MY HUMBLE/CRITICAL OPINION

  • http://www.saltytexan.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=35 rangerjohn rest in peace 22 month old jonathon shaddix

    holy shit dirk IS clutch, lmao

  • Rafa23

    yes, josh smith hasn’t developed a jumper because mike woodsen didn’t allow him to work on it.

  • Patrick

    Wathing Josh Smith play is fun. He is super athletic and really strong, but he is not as good as Marion a couple years ago. Remember talking about how ugly Marion’s shot was. That’s because he would make the three, and the mid range floater. They both have a garbage handle, but Marion got after it on the glass too.

    Moral of the story. Don’t even consider building around a skinny (by banging NBA standards) 6’8″ perimeter oriented PF. Especially when he is not as good as others.

  • http://twitter.com/PoppiGEE POPPI GEE

    Houston Up!

    On Dime all last night so you all can have at it today lol!

    Deuces!

  • kevin k

    If the REFS didn’t fix the miami/dallas games and gave D-WAde every foul call possible, we wouldn’t be talking about Dirk this way…

    ATLANTA, please get rid of JOE JOHNSON. You can say Josh Smith is an alpha-male, but he plays hard. Joe? please. People complain about Vince Carter being soft and jacking jumpers, what about Joe? How many “all-star” or a “franchise player” can you think of that shoots more 3s than freethrows??? Joe Johnson sucks. Get rid of Mike Woodson too. Trade Joe and bibby and get Ricky Rubio. Just thinking of Rubio running the team with healthy Josh, Marvin, and Horford is crazy. and sign a legit C, Marcus Camby or Caman are fa….

  • Russ

    …yes he told the ball boy to go steal all of the ball racks and lock them in the closet as soon as josh went to practice his jump shot. seems as though in this economy the hawks had gone over their reduced paint budget due to all of the errant jumpshots and subsequent repeated repaintin of the rims.

    ..and ‘melo suspended? really? i don’t see there even being a chance. but who knows with this league, not the epitomy of consistent. from what i remember about the replay he shoved him in the side WITH THE BALL, the impact causing his hand to slip/roll off the ball. after that the replay seemed to show a complete whiff. dallas didn’t even seem that upset about it.

  • http://www.kikaayacollegeschool.net smity far away

    @ kevin k

    i’m with you and your legit center wishes. i think sliding horford to the 4 spot would work wonders for him (along with continuing to develop that jumper and working on some back to the baskets)

  • ERIC

    Cavs cakewalk to the Finals… hopefully Magic/Celtics put up a better fight than the 2 teams the Cavs faced who wouldnt have even made the playoffs in the West.

  • Mikey B

    could we get a bigger blurb about Jay Triano for the Toronto fans.

    Man how the not so mighty have fallen…….once again we are the leagues joke.

  • http://dimemag.com Melo2TDot

    Chauncey didnt fall due to Kidds crossover, his foot was clearly tagled with Dampier’s

  • QQ

    Dirk was a beast. Give it your best shot, haters.

  • bigdoggchad

    Is it just me or is Melo becoming the most clutch player in the L. I don’t even have a doubt when he has the ball in crunch time. The mavs are lucky there was no time left cause you know if there was 5 seconds left melo was making that game winner. Nuggets take care of business at home.

  • http://www.myspace.com/beenobrown BERN BROGDEN

    Cavaliers guard play was OUTSTANDING last night.

    The way they slice and dice, BOTH OF THEM — Man o’ Man, Lebron done got himself a bomb squad now. Wow!

    And they hit KILLER shots yo! Killerrrrrr.

    Last night, against a desperate ATL team, against a ATL team that played pretty well at home, with Lebron’s jumper looking like ALL OF ATL’s jumpers…the other CAVS stepped up.

    Gotta give props to Delonte for handling biz on DEFENSE and OFFENSE.

    AND he bought some BASELINE STUFFING for the 2nd pick of the 2005 draft. Nice!

    Totally did not expect that one!

    And, he kept ALL STAR JJ in check. Just like he kept ALL STAR RIP in check.

    Props to Andy and Z for keeping seemingly EVERY ball alive..or dolin’ out crushing BLOCKS.

    And before I leave this post, I gotta say this –

    NO TEAM IS HUSTLING LIKE THE CAVALIERS ARE HUSTLING.

    That’s CHIP SH*T. REAL RAP

  • that’s whats up

    Nuggets will probably close tomorrow

    the wifey is out of town so I was hoping for another game on Wednesday
    thank you Dirk for not sucking last night

  • Taj

    Dirk was BEAST last night… So was Melo… How Huge is the “Intentional foul” no call right now, we could be talking about a 2-2 Series??

    I think re- uppin with Triano was a good move, the Mullin firing is whack, they shoulda got rid of Nelly!

  • Dennis Castro

    Josh Smith’s athletcism is going to leave him eventually. After that happens, what kind of player does that make him? I say ineffective.

  • mules

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtzQ0eXVoJo
    “$20 Chinese food, yeah!!”

  • doc

    Bron handled his BI.ATL was a good team,but they not ready to challenge for the throne.Melo better not get suspended for that bullshit push.If he get suspended for anything it should be for raping Antoine Wright with no condom in front of a national tv audience.That was a u my bitch tonight 41.

  • Diego

    Can’t build a team around Josh Smith–no way, no how. HOWEVER, he was the only Hawk who really brought it during the playoffs this year. Pretty much the rest stunk it up (although Bibby had a few strong games with his 3 shot). Horford was a total no show vs. the Cavs. As was Marvin. (Injuries must have played a role re. Horford’s disappearing act?)

    Andy V. was a definite unsung hero; he gave the Hawks absolute fits on the boards the last 2 games. I always thought he was garbage, but he is proving me wrong.

    Maybe Cavs will be overconfident by the time they complete their milk run to the finals?

    Hawks need a bit of retooling–and some more shooters. Somebody please send an SOS to Greece for J-Chill!

  • ash

    aint no doubt about it now. dirk’s fadeaway is the most deadly fadeaway in the league after MJ’s. his one legged fadeaway shot is just ridiculous.

  • Skeeter McGee

    Y’all see how Kenyon Martin’s mom got the business from Mark Cuban after the game 3 loss? Man if someone stepped at my Mama like that, let’s just say dude would not wanna be in the same building as me…

    LeBron has cemented himself, in my eyes, through these playoffs, as the best player in the League (that means better than Kobe) solely for the fact that he makes his team 100x better than Kobe makes his. You think the Cavs woulda put up that effort against the Rockets like the Lakers did? Absolutely not…

  • K Dizzle

    I got to laugh at the Hawks fan sayin get rid of JJ. Once again, some dudes just got short ass memories. Before Joe came to make that embarrassin franchise legit again, they sucked. Playoffs were a dream. If you a hawks fan, you should know that. JJ played the last 2 games on a busted ankle so of course he’ll take more 3s than slash. If y’all don’t want him, we got a locker spot in LA he can have. See how dependin on J-Smoove’s busted jumper gets you…Cavs didn’t even guard dude 10 feet out…Pitiful

    please stop hatin on Jay triano. Dude is a good hoops coach and don’t think just cuz the man’s a little white dude lookin like a bald Clark Kent tells you anything about his intensity or toughness. At least wait till the season starts. Dude won games when he had the full roster. Dime, you really need to post up the “Ignorant post of the day” so we can out some of these “hoopheads”. Colangelo hired Triano to a 3 year deal “cuz he don’t like Americans” and of course, he wouldn’t have discussed with his stud, Bosh, to make sure he was cool with it…Damn. Read that post and actually became dumber….
    Lakers tonight, kids

  • Mrbball

    Dime

    “Mike Brown said in an interview aired during the game that LeBron reminds him of Tim Duncan with his basketball IQ. As if on cue, right after that Mo Williams tried to morph into Sik Wid It and turned the ball over on a botched spin move ”

    In above quote. You telling me A Mike Brown interview about Lebron & bball IQ cleanly segways into a TO by MO Williams? I get the stretch pretty much saying Mo Will’s bball IQ sucked on that play but yall could have cleaned that one up a bit.

  • doc

    haha lebrons bball iq?? haha if he had any he would know how to SHOOT a basketball..this mutha F***cker is averagin over 15 freethrows a game and what 30 or 35 points?? thats pathetic. he’s at the line for more than 50% of his points. how is that the “most dangerous man in the world?” lmao

  • K Dizzle

    Do we got 2 “docs” out here? That’s not cool