The Mavs played without Dirk. 'I guess it's just Father Time, bro',' he joked. 'Stuff happens. I've never pulled a muscle my whole career, so I guess there's always a first one.' No, Dirk, but still, a 'Dirkie' as the Mavericks snuff the Suns, 109-99. And who deserves the (Father) time-honored prize?
The last time we broke out the shiny things was after a friendly arguement with these selfsame Suns earlier this week. One might be excused for thinking the story might go differently Friday -- Phoenix had just paddled the Lakers' heinies and Dallas had just suffered two troublesome losses. The good guys had fought back from behind to knot things up at 81-all in the fourth quarter. The tie broke with a Carter three, and the Dallas Mavericks never looked back, earning a 109-99 victory with Dirk sidelined with the strained groin.
A hint as to a leading candidate for 'The Dirkie' comes from coach Rick Carlisle.
“I thought the last six minutes may have been the best six minutes (Darren) Collison has played since he’s been here,” Carlisle said of an effort that included 19 points and six assists for the game but featured in the final six-and-a-half minutes seven points, three assists, two rebounds, one steal and no turnovers.
One "The-Dream-Isn't-Quite-Dead!" Dirkie, coming up!
Your vote here for Player of the Game for Dallas 109, Phoenix 99 ... and some of your candidates:
Darren Collison -- 19 points, 6 dimes, 4th qtr goodies
Vince Carter -- tiebreaker and bench leader notches 17
Shawn Marion -- 14 and 11 double-double
OJ Mayo -- leads the Mavs with 20
Jae Crowder -- 13 points for the rook
Brandan Wright -- back in the mix, 11 and 6
Bernard James -- Sarge gives 7 and 5 plus a steal
Elton Brand -- Starting Big Dude with 4 and 10
Mike James -- 4 points and 5 assists off the bench
Dahntay Jones -- starts but gets little done
We look forward to adding Dirk to this list of candidates again soon. He talks as if the strain isn't a long-term thing.
"I don't think it has anything to do with the knee, the knee has been fine, it's been responding fine, it hasn't been swelling at all,'' he said. "'I guess it's just Father Time, bro. Stuff happens. I've never pulled a muscle my whole career, so I guess there's always a first one.''