Dirk Nowitzki Free Throw Streak Ends At Inopportune Time For Mavericks In Loss To Thunder

Dirk Nowitzki famously hit 24 of 24 free throws in the Dallas Mavericks' Western Conference Finals Game 1 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. He had a really nice streak going into the final minute of Game 2, with the Mavericks trailing. Nowitzki hadn't missed from the stripe since Game 2 of the Mavericks' series against the Los Angeles Lakers.

With the Mavericks trailing 104-98, Nowitzki goaded Nick Collison into a foul on a three-point attempt with 36 seconds left; it was one of those "take contact and heave" deals. Nowitzki had at that point hit 38 consecutive free throws: seven in the Lakers' series, 24 in Game 1 and seven in Game 2. If he hit all three of these, he'd make it a one-possession game.

He hit the first but rimmed out the second before making the third; the scored was 104-100, leaving Dallas in a tough spot. Rick Carlisle elected not to foul on the ensuing Thunder possession, but Dallas pressure forced a 24-second violation. Dallas couldn't convert its final three-point attempts; maybe the Mavericks would have failed if they needed one for the tie instead of two scores. But having that three-point margin definitely would be have been nice.

You can't fault Nowitzki -- he very clearly has the resolve to handle business in crunch time. Basketball works in odd ways, and no streak lasts forever. Too bad it ended when it did.

For more on the Mavericks, visit Mavs Moneyball and SB Nation Dallas.

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