Würzburg Native Maximilian Kleber Aims for NBA Crown with Dallas Mavericks, Following Dirk Nowitzki’s Legacy

Würzburg Native Maximilian Kleber Aims for NBA Crown with Dallas Mavericks, Following Dirk Nowitzki’s Legacy

13 years after the Dallas Mavericks and Dirk Nowitzki won the title, another Würzburg native is aiming for the NBA crown. Maximilian Kleber and the team from Texas are in the final, facing the Boston Celtics.

Smiling, Maximilian Kleber held the Oscar Robertson Trophy up to the camera. “Western Conference Champions” is engraved on the gold trophy and was also emblazoned on the grey T-shirt that all of the Dallas Mavericks basketball players wore after making it to the NBA finals.

Returning player Kleber, who was recently out of action for weeks, is following in Dirk Nowitzki’s footsteps more than ever by taking the biggest step of his career so far. The only thing standing in his way on the road to the crown are the Boston Celtics.

“Finals!!! Let’s go!” wrote club legend Nowitzki at X when the team’s progress was certain. With a 124-103 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves, Dallas made it to the semifinals 4-1 and is in the finals for the third time in franchise history. In 2006, the Texans led by the German idol (after leading 2-0) were defeated by Miami (2-4), and in 2011, Finals MVP Nowitzki led his team to their first triumph against the Heat (4-2).

Nowitzki (45), now a consultant to the Mavs, was the first and so far only German to win the Larry O’Brien Trophy, and now a Würzburger is once again aiming for it. Kleber (32), who played for Dallas alongside the most famous Franconian basketball player from 2017 until his departure in 2019, is only the fourth German NBA professional to make it this far. Before that, Detlef Schrempf (1996/Seattle SuperSonics) and Daniel Theis (2022/Boston) had also made it to the finals alongside Nowitzki.

Doncic against the Timberwolves in “Luka Magic Mode”

It is somewhat surprising that Kleber will be able to take part in the best-of-seven series against the best main round team starting Thursday (local time), which will be a crucial match.

The official diagnosis at the beginning of May was a shoulder joint dislocation after the forward crashed hard onto the parquet in the last round of 16 against the Los Angeles Clippers. Three weeks later, Kleber’s health was to be reassessed, and three and a half weeks later, namely last Tuesday in game four, the defensive specialist was back.

Kleber played a good nine minutes in the last semi-final in Minneapolis (three points, one rebound), his average in the current play-offs is higher (17.4) and the amount of playing time he will play against the Celtics will certainly increase again. But whether he can pull off the big win depends on others. For example, superstar Luka Doncic, who has been the face of the club since Nowitzki retired, and Kyrie Irving, who is playing better than he has in a long time.

“We have a young team. Apart from Kyrie. Kyrie is getting old,” joked Doncic (25) in his typical manner about Irving (32) and had to smile. With 36 points and ten rebounds, the Slovenian had once again achieved a double-double in the one-sided “closing game”, Irving also scored 36 points.

Doncic was in “Luka Magic mode,” said coach Jason Kidd, who won the 2011 professional championship with Nowitzki. “He set the tone and then made it easier for everyone else.” A difficult task awaits against Boston, which eliminated the Indiana Pacers 4-0 in the semifinals. “It was a very, very tough road,” said Doncic. “But we’re not done yet.”

2024-06-01 03:58:19
#Kleber #reaches #title #Mavs


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