Dirk Nowitzki replaces Ron Artest as public enemy No. 1 in Thunderland

Dirk is now the guy who's going to get booed and jeered and cajoled like no other.
by Jenni Carlson Published: May 1, 2012

And here we thought Dirk was one of the nice guys in the league.

Guess that reputation might hold up in other NBA hamlets, but not here.

Not after Monday night.

The Dirk devil blew into The Peake and wreaked some serious havoc. And we're not talking about the kind of chaos he usually causes. This wasn't Dirk hitting all kinds of crazy, beautiful, mystifying shots. This was Dirk shoving and complaining and flopping.

And it almost worked.

Thunder 102, Mavs 99.

At the same time the Thunder earned itself a 2-0 lead in this first-round Western Conference playoff series, Dirk Nowitzki earned himself a new title in Oklahoma City.

Public Enemy No. 1.

Ron Artest, you're off the hook for now. Nene? Zach Randolph? Jason Terry? Gasol brothers? You're all long-forgotten nemeses.

Dirk is now the guy who's going to get booed and jeered and cajoled like no other.

You knew he was going to be a watched man Monday night, knew it before the game even started. That's because Dallas coach Rick Carlisle made a point of complaining about the no-calls on Dirk in Game 1, and while I'm sure there were some no-calls, there are no-calls in every game.

This is the NBA, not a first-grade basketball league.

But after a couple early tough looks — Dirk knocked down three of the four of them, by the way — he seemed to get frustrated. And when Thunder big man Kendrick Perkins blocked him out a little too vigorously on a Kevin Durant 3-pointer, Dirk went over the edge.

He shoved Perk and instigated what nearly erupted into a full-fledged, first-quarter melee.

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by Jenni Carlson
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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