Some of the initial reaction to the revelation of Dirk Nowitzki's injury, a torn tendon in the middle finger of his left, non-shooting hand, was relief: at least Nowitzki's shooting hand, the right hand that propelled so many shots into the hoop during the Mavericks' run to the NBA Finals, was fine.
But ESPN analyst Tim Legler, in an interview with ESPN's Mike and Mike In The Morning radio show, noted that the injury might hamper Nowitzki in ways beyond his shot, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
"That's a big problem for Dirk Nowitzki because he actually prefers to go left, particularly when he starts from the middle of the floor at the top of the key," Legler said. "He loves to go left, swing through and go that way for either a step back jumper or to try to get to the rim to finish with that left hand. Both of those things are going to be affected by his inability to squeeze that basketball and get a firm grip on it."
Nowitzki is obviously a resourceful scorer, and has played through injuries before in his career. But with an injury and the Heat's relentless defense mitigating Dirk's chances of saving Dallas with 30- and 40-point explosions, the Mavericks' road to an NBA title is far steeper than it was heading into Tuesday night.