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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

Perk started yelling at Dirk.

Dirk started yelling at Perk.

Teammates tired to keep the two apart, then were joined by coaches who spilled onto the court. It was a mess.

Dirk got fouled by Perk. No one is disputing that.

But what he did afterward?

It was completely and totally uncalled for.

“We don't like the cheap shots when they give ‘em, and they don't like ‘em if we give ‘em,” Carlisle said. “That's the nature of competition.”

But ...

“The dirty (expletive) got to stop,” Carlisle said.

I couldn't agree more, but some of Dirk's antics need to stop, too. His flop late in the game, for example, was horrendous. Dirk was blocking out for a rebound, and Thunder reserve Derek Fisher got a forearm into him. But the way Dirk fell out of bounds, you'd have thought he'd been shot.

Then, you add in the way Dirk nearly carried these Mavs to victory, and you've got a recipe for being a villain in OKC.

He went 10 for 19 from the floor, 11 for 11 from the free-throw line and scored a game-high 31 points.

“I keep saying this — it's like a broken record — but the guy is the most amazing players I've seen, just his ability to score,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “He's just an amazing player.”

No doubt about that, and up until Monday night, everyone in Oklahoma City appreciated just how good he is.

Now, it'll be hard for Thunder fans to overlook all that they saw in Game 2. They saw Good Dirk, but they also saw Bad Dirk.

In Oklahoma City, he's a nice guy no more.