DALLAS -- There was a time when doubling Dirk Nowitzki on the block would be an easy decision.
Now, it’s a dilemma.
That’s due to Dirk’s ability to make smart, sharp passes out of double-teams. That was a facet of the game he struggled with even after Avery Johnson forced Nowitzki to develop as a back-to-the-basket scoring threat.
“I think I got better over the years,” Nowitzki said. “At the beginning I was a little uncomfortable at all on the block, then when the double-teams came I made mistakes. But when you get older, you get more experience. You know how to pass out, when to pass out, how to read the defenses.
“I’m pretty comfortable passing out now, so hopefully if they come, we can swing-swing, make some shots on the weak side and loosen it all up.”
There isn’t any evidence to support that statement in Nowitzki’s assist totals. He averaged 2.6 this season, which is actually one-tenth per game lower than his career average. He’s averaging 2.9 assists during the playoffs.
But it’s all about the “swing-swing.” Hockey assists aren’t an official stat, but Dirk racks them up on a regular basis when the doubles come, often leading to wide-open 3-point looks for teammates.
“Dirk leads the league in 'em,” Jason Terry said. “His pass doesn’t always directly lead to an assist. It’s that pass and then the next one, but it always starts with him.”