More Love for the Germans

Nowitzki used a savvy spin at the free throw line to lose Heat forward Udonis Haslem and set up a game-turning layup — with the right hand this time — and wound up wowing just about everyone in the building. The lone hedge, as always, came from Nowitzki’s ever-demanding shooting coach, Holger Geschwindner, who came away saying: “Not pretty. But energy-efficient.”

Try telling that to the Heat. Good luck convincing Miami after it followed up its Game 2 collapse at home by squandering a nine-point lead in the fourth here … while watching James get more passive with every quarter against the Mavs’ packed paint and pick-and-roll blitzing. Compared to LeBron’s eight points, which included just one solitary field goal attempt in the fourth quarter, Nowitzki’s 21 points and 11 boards must have seemed like Jordan’s 38-point stratosphere in the ’97 Finals.

“Every time he shoots the ball,” Spoelstra said, “you hold your breath.”

A wheezing Nowitzki didn’t sleep much Monday night, didn’t participate in the Tuesday morning shootaround, and had teammates and team officials somewhat alarmed in the run-up to this must-win home date because Dirk, as described by one longtime confidante, was so uncharacteristically “quiet” all day.

“He was barely able to talk,” said Mavs center Tyson Chandler, supplier of 13 points and 16 rebounds.

– Marc Stein on

Dear Herr Geschwindner,

For those who doubt there is such a thing as a national character or ethnic personality, I present to them your quote concerning Dirk’s move against Udonis Haslem: “”Not pretty. But energy-efficient.” Does anything say German more than that quote? I saw the special ABC did on you during half-time and you are obviously a big influence on Dirk and a wonderful mentor and coach — keep up the good work!

P.S. A big shout out to Shawn Marion, Jason Terry and especially Tyson Chandler with 16 rebounds (a Chicagoan!) who did a great job supporting Dirk to even up the series against Miami.


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