Simple: Do you trust Dirk Nowitzki?
In the final seconds? In tonight's Game 3? In the series against the San Antonio Spurs?
To get him more room - more open looks - the Dallas Mavericks must push the pace at Amercian Airlines Center. One of the toughest things in the NBA the last decade is to try to run a half-court offense against the Spurs' vaunted defense. Attempting to beat the Spurs at their game is a dumber idea than building a convention center hotel in downtown Dallas.
Playing up-tempo might result in a turnover or two, but if it helps Dallas get off a shot - or 6 or 7 - against San Antonio's scramble mode, it's worth it. And since the Spurs are doubling Dirk on the pass in half-court sets, he's got to think quicker, react more efficiently and be, well, better.
But will he?
I know Jason Terry is the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year this season, but Nowitzki is a no-brainer Hall of Famer. By far the best player in franchise history. Option 1 and 1a with the game on the line.
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But, as his critics are quick to point out, his playoff performances can be sketchy. His career post-season averages of 25 points and 10 rebounds are lofty, but there's also the missed free throw in Game 3 against Miami in '06 and the MVP disappearing act against Golden State in '07.
In Games 1 and 2 against the Spurs, he has managed only a combined 33 points . If he doesn't score at least 30 in Game 3, the Mavs will fall in a 2-1 hole.
After all, isn't Victory Park owned by the Germans?