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Recognition for Dirk is long overdue

Although it's portrayed that way, being an elite playoff player is nothing new for Mav

Updated: May 12, 2011, 2:44 PM ET
By Tim MacMahon | ESPNDallas.com

DALLAS -- There is not a more overblown storyline during these NBA playoffs than the new, vastly improved Dirk Nowitzki.

Not Nowitzki, who has been phenomenal while leading the Dallas Mavericks to the Western Conference finals for the first time in five years. Just the new and improved part.

No matter what you might hear on TV, Nowitzki isn't in the process of proving he's the kind of player who can put a team on his back during the playoffs. He's been one of the NBA's premier ...

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