NBA Finals: Mavs aren't getting excited yet
By Jaime Aron
MIAMI — Here’s where all their age and experience, heartbreak and disappointment actually benefit Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks.
They’ve had two days to get ready for Game 6 of the NBA finals — plenty of time to daydream about commissioner David Stern handing them the shiny, gold Larry O’Brien Trophy as confetti falls and they pull on hats and T-shirts with the words 2011 NBA champions.
Yet their steely resolve remains.
They’re strictly thinking about what it will take to beat the Miami Heat tonight, not what will happen if they do.
“I don’t allow myself to sit back and relax now,” Nowitzki said Saturday. “In these playoffs, one win or one loss can switch the whole momentum. You don’t ever want a snowball to start. I don’t allow myself to sit back all of a sudden and be satisfied. We got one more big win hopefully to get, and then I can be satisfied.”
Nowitzki isn’t giving his version of the “one game at a time” cliche. He’s been this way the last two months — the last five years, really, ever since the Mavericks went from being on the verge of taking a 3-0 lead in the 2006 finals to losing in six games. The Mavs wound up watching the Miami Heat celebrate their first championship on Dallas’ floor.
Nowitzki and Jason Terry are the only players left from that club, and the emotional scars from that collapse haven’t healed.
They could tonight.
But until it happens, they aren’t about to let their guard down.