Friday night's game against the Dallas Mavericks marks the first time Boston Celtics fans have ever cheered for someone who couldn't hit the broad side of a barn.
Dirk Nowitzki's last game in Boston (barring a Celtics-Mavs Finals) began with him only one point away from being the all-time leading scorer for Western Conference players in the Garden. The record is held by Kobe Bryant, a top-15 NBA player of all-time, and also a Laker, so it would have been great to see Dirk claim that record. Everyone loves Dirk. Kobe? Not so much.
Dirk checked into a standing ovation at the end of the first. This is a "farewell tour" for Nowitzki, and very few fanbases appreciate greatness like the Celtics'. They cheered whenever he touched the ball, and everyone in the arena wanted him to get just one more bucket in Boston.
Man, oh man, he could not get it done. I truly feel bad because Dirk is one of the best players of all-time. 13x All Star, 2011 Finals MVP, 2006-2007 MVP, and 7th all-time in scoring. But Friday night he couldn't throw a beach ball in the ocean. The Mavs were feeding him relentlessly at the end of the game. Celtics players were playing as little defense as possible without getting benched, and still none of the shots even got close. Dirk finished 0-10 from the field, 0-6 from three. One of the best shooters ever, with the sweetest fade away these eyes will ever see, relegated to this. Guys like Dirk and Melo don't deserve to ever be this bad at basketball. Time is a cruel, cruel thing.
I LOVE when this team wins games without Kyrie and the media puts out the "Are the Celtics better without Kyrie?" takes. Maybe it just means that the other players on the Celtics are actually good, instead of bad. People forget that Jaylen, Terry and Tatum lead the C's to the conference finals last year. Kyrie should only miss another game at most with the eye injury, and it'll be interesting to see how he plays off of Jaylen and Hayward's recent surges.
Also- since Jaylen and Hayward had the flu, they've both been awesome. I'm officially an anti-vax mom. My kids are getting the flu this winter and they're gonna be damn good at basketball.
The Nets come into town Monday, with the Pacers at home Wednesday, and at Miami on Thursday. My next blog will be a live report on the Celtics-Magic game in Orlando on Saturday. I'm hoping my dedication to traveling with the team will grant me my interview request with Kyrie. Go Celtics.