Dirk Nowitski, and the Dallas Mavericks are headed for the NBA Finals, for the first time since 2006, and this time, both he, and his team, may be better.  Johnny Ludden, of yahoo.com, has the story, below.

Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks reacts in the second quarter while taking on the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Four of the Western Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Oklahoma City Arena on May 23, 2011 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Follow the path of the ball. From Dirk Nowitzki(notes) to Tyson Chandler(notes) to Jason Terry(notes) to Jason Kidd(notes) to Shawn Marion(notes) to Nowitzki again. Five desperate veterans, five redemptive basketball souls, each pulling on the other, forming a rope all the way to the NBA Finals.

Dirk Nowitzki launched that 3-pointer, and everything stunningly aligned for these Dallas Mavericks. The ball caromed off the rim, off the hand of Chandler, through the hands of Russell Westbrook(notes) and legs of Eric Maynor(notes). Terry scooped up the ball, pitched it to Kidd, who rifled a pass to Marion, who found Nowitzki spotting up again, in rhythm, from 25 feet.