Originally posted on Ball Don't Lie  |  Last updated 1/12/12
Last spring, Dirk Nowitzki established himself as one of the top crunch-time performers in the NBA with various heroics throughout the Dallas Mavericks' championship run through the playoffs. For a man who once had a reputation as someone who shirked from the limelight, it was a huge step up. No one can call Dirk a loser anymore. The flipside of that situation, of course, is that people now expect him to come through in winning time. Luckily, Nowitzki didn't disappoint on Wednesday night against the Celtics in Boston. With 10 seconds left and the score tied at 85, Dirk took the ball near the three-point line, created space as Kevin Garnett tried to crowd him, and drove to the rim for a lay-up in traffic. Brandon Bass met him at the rim for a hard foul, but Nowitzki was able to lift the ball up in time and get it through the hope. He hit the and-one free throw, the Celtics turned it over, and Jason Terry hit a lay-up to make it a 90-85 win. If Dirk hadn't scored, it might've been a different
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