Playing With the Flu Jordan vs Nowitzki

By Dennis Berry

Don't Compare "Flu Games"

After game four of the NBA Finals, there was a lot of talk about Dirk Nowitzki's performance. It wasn't Nowitzki's best game in these finals, but it was the fact that he played with the flu. When it became known that Nowitzki was sick, the next logical step for fans and the media to do was compare it to Michael Jordan's performance in game five of the NBA Finals.

Nowitzki's game is not even close to being on the same level as Jordan's.

That is not to take away from what Nowitzki was able to do. You could tell that he was not 100% during the first half. Shots that he normally hit were not falling. He even missed a free throw. Then during the game it was announced that he was fighting flu-like symptoms with a 101degree temperature.

Throughout the second half when the cameras went to the Dallas bench during timeouts, Dirk was trying to cover himself up as much as he could. There was no doubt he was sick. Even though he did not have his best game of these finals, he still was there when Dallas needed him. He scored 10 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter and hit the game winning shot to lead Dallas to a win and even up in the Finals at 2-2.

When you look at his stats, they are pretty respectable.

Player Minutes FG FGA FG % 3P 3PA 3P % Rebounds Assists Steals Points
Dirk Nowitzki 39 6 19 0.316 0 3 0 11 1 0 21

Even though Nowitzki rose to the occasion, it does not match up with Jordan's performance in game five of the 1997 NBA Finals. Michael Jordan was fighting flu-like symptoms himself before the game. It was reported that Jordan was up all night fighting the sickness. He got very little rest and did not arrive at the arena until shortly before the tip-off.

Jordan was fighting a 103 degree temperature during the game. It was obvious from the start. Once Jordan found his team down by 16 points, who knows what kicked in for Jordan, but that is when he began to play his best.

As Chicago battled back, Jordan found more energy. In the fourth quarter the Bulls had battled all the way back, but the Jazz always had an answer. In the end, Jordan would not let the Bulls lose. He hit what would be the game winning three pointer to give Chicago the win and a 3-2 series win.

When you consider Jordan's condition and his stats from that game, they are pretty incredible.

Player Minutes FG FGA FG % 3P 3PA 3P % Rebounds Assists Steals Points
Michael Jordan 44 13 27 0.481 2 5 0.40 7 5 3 38

And if you want video proof, here you go.

Like I stated above, this is not to take away from Nowitzki's performance in a huge game for Dallas. He played better than some players on the same court who were as healthy as a player can be after a full season.

Just don't compare it to Jordan.

What do you think?

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