During Thursday night's amazing comeback win for the Mavericks in Game 2, Dirk Nowitzki helped put to rest any remaining claims that he's never been clutch, scoring the last nine points for his team, including the game-winning lay-up off his injured left middle finger. It was tough, clutch, and virtually any other positive adjective the public usually assigns to a legendary playoff performance. No matter what happens over the rest of the NBA Finals, people will remember Dirk for these heroics.
Unfortunately, Nowitzki's moment of triumph was short-lived, because he literally walked into a steel pole after his postgame press conference. From Brandon George for the Dallas Morning News (via TBJ):
After addressing the media in an area that was squared off by black cloth, Nowitzki exited through the back and ran right into a steel pole with his head, letting out a loud, "Oh." He then addressed a swarm of German media members for about 10 minutes of more questions.
Oh man, that's just klassic komedy right there. When the improv troupe Gork Jork started the first sketch comedy in 10,000 BC, I'm pretty sure one of them walked into a really big tree just like Dirk hit this steel pole Thursday. Let's get more of these antics after Game 3, please. Can Brian Cardinal slip on a banana peel?
Still, there's a dark side to this story. After a great performance on the court, Dirk couldn't finish the job in the final moments of the night. When Michael Jordan had great games in the Finals, he'd always follow it up with an average press conference in which he answered every question with as little insight as possible. Most importantly, though, he then walked off the podium and did not hit any steel poles. And if he had, I'm pretty sure he would have said "ow" instead of "oh," which is not something people say when they hit their heads.
I, for one, expect better from Dirk in Game 3. Real champions avoid metal poles in the clutch.
- Dirk Nowitzki