Kobe Bryant, Dirk Nowitzki: Historic Matchup Will Not Live Up to Its Billing

It's hard to believe, but when the Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks face each other in the Western Conference Semifinals, it will be the first time that stars Kobe Bryant and Dirk Nowitzki have squared off in the postseason.

Considering both Bryant and Nowitzki have spent the majority of their careers in the NBA playoffs it was inevitable that their paths would eventually cross, but who could have guessed it would take this long?

Nowitzki has reached the postseason 11 consecutive years and has averaged 25.7 points per game and 10.7 rebounds while connecting on 45 percent of his shots from the field in his playoff career.

Bryant has reached the postseason in 14 out of his 15 professional seasons and has averaged 25.4 points, 4.2 assists and 4.2 rebounds in his own playoff career, while also shooting 45 percent from the field.

However the fates of Nowitzki and Bryant's respective teams in the postseason have been very different from their individual success, as the Lakers have been the championship standard in the past decade, and the Mavericks have been defined by their failures.

Sure, Nowitzki and the Mavericks have won an astonishing 50 regular season games for 10 straight seasons, but that pales in comparison to their more memorable postseason collapses.

The 2006 loss to the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals after leading by two games in the series was bad, but the first-round collapse the following season to the eighth-seeded Golden State Warriors was much worse.

Those two losses established a reputation Nowitzki and the Mavericks have been unable to escape, and the cries of postseason pretenders grew even louder last season as the Mavericks once again were upset in the first round of the playoffs as the West's No. 2 seed.

Conversely Bryant has managed to capture 5 NBA championships in his career, and along the way has become one of the ...

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