Circus Nowitzki to the Dramatic (Lucky) Rescue

It’s better to be great than good. And it’s best to be great and lucky.

Right, Circus Nowitzki?

The Mavs did everything they could to belch up a win last night in Madison Square Garden. A couple of turnovers by Monta Ellis down the stretch and, poof, an eight-point lead deteriorated into a 108-108 tie against the lowly New York Knicks. Great defense by Vince Carter and Ellis forced a shot-clock violation, setting up Dallas' final possession.

Dirk had been cold, with only five made shots and 13 points in an ugly performance. But no doubt head coach Rick Carlisle was giving him the ball. And it was the right move.

He set up shop in his office, on right side of the free-throw circle near the top of the key, where it's difficult to double-team him. Carmelo Anthony was all up in his jersey, playing perfect, passionate defense. But Dirk refused to pass, patiently letting the clock tick before using his size advantage to launch a shot at the buzzer.

Backboard. Back rim. Side rim. Front rim. Net. Game. Voilà, the ugliest game-winner in Mavs' history.

“It wasn't the greatest shot in the world,” Nowitzki told the media afterward.

It was ugly. It was accidental. It was, above all else, beautiful.

Dirk’s post-shot celebration was appropriately muted. The fortunate carom bailed him and his team out of what was on the brink of being a catastrophic collapse and a season sweep to a team with only 21 wins. You can call it a "shooter's bounce" or Dirk's "soft touch" but, be real, no way he called glass.

The Mavs got lucky last night. And in a season of lost leads and bad bounces, they'll take it. Now they’ve won nine of 11, are a season-high 12 games over .500 and are coming home for winnable games against the Pelicans and Bulls.

All because of Circus Nowitzki.

A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently writes a sports/guy stuff blog at and lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.

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