To say Dirk Nowitzki has been perfect in the 2011 Western Conference finals might be a slanderous understatement.
With two 40-plus-point games, a myriad of off-balance jumpers and juke moves, and free-throw shooting that puts Rick Barry to shame, Dirk Nowitzki, claimed to be one of the top 10 greatest players of all time by his coach, is drawing comparisons to Larry Bird and is having the playoff round of his life.
Dirk has always been a consistent basketball monster, but part of that consistency was losing in the big games. But luck, so far, seems to be on Dirk's side, as he is leading his Mavericks team to the promised land.
Dirk stands one win away from his second NBA Finals trip and five wins from his first ring. And by dispatching the Lakers in a four-game sweep, the Mavericks, and the nation, are starting to believe those five wins are possible.
Dirk's Game 1 performance against the Thunder set the tone for what has been a series dominated, when it counts, by Dallas. His performance can't possibly be judged so quickly after it happened but it already makes the short list as one of the greatest played in recent playoff memory.
In honor of that epic performance (stat line was: 48 points on 12-of-15 FG, 24-of-24 FTs, six rebounds, four assists and four blocks), here are 15 other classic playoff performances that wowed us all.
Note: I wouldn't feel justified in citing memorable playoff performances if I have no actual memory of them. Therefore, I have provided memorable moments from my history of watching basketball (thus performances that impressed me) and selected 1990 as the start date. So is this "all time" and truly historical? No, it's my opinion during my life, but there have been plenty of performances since 1990 that remain immortal and memorable and I provide the 15 best for that era. Also, this list is in chronological order, not ranking order.